Detroit to get even more abandoned warehouses turned into art centers, courtesy of NYC's Galapagos Art Space



By now you've probably seen the news that the Galapagos Art Space plans on moving from Brooklyn to Detroit. The space is credited with helping establish Brooklyn's rep as a vibrant arts scene after opening in Williamsburg in 1995, but has now become yet another casualty of New York's high rents that are putting the squeeze on artists in the city. (In fact, organizers even held a dance party funeral for Williamsburg last weekend.)

The people behind Galapagos, Robert Elmes and wife Philippa Kaye, have reportedly acquired nine buildings in Corktown and Highland Park, noting that "young artists and thinkers” appeared to be moving to Detroit. One of the buildings is the former APAC Paper warehouse located near Michigan Central Station — you can take a peek inside over at Curbed Detroit, or learn more at Galapagos Art Space's new website.

As fans of factories turned into art spaces, we have to pose the question — how many of these things can the scene in Detroit sustain? Artists have been working in the Russell Industrial Center for more than a decade, 333 Midland opened in Highland Park earlier this year, and Berlin entrepreneur Dimitri Hegemann has plans to transform the old Fisher Body 21 plant into, in part, an art space and techno nightclub. (Plus, Elmes and company might not have heard that Detroit's "art haven" narrative might not be as rosy as the media makes it out to be.)

So — does anyone have any ideas for Detroit that don't involve turning abandoned factories into art spaces? Sound off in the comments. Detroit, of course, can't get revived solely by remaking itself into a hipster playground.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.