On the blocks of Flint you will find painters, photographers, and a real diversity in creativity that is rarely found in such high concentration. It’s unique in density and that the art, music, food, and apparel are all being created for totally different reasons and in totally different ways than most other cultural hubs I have lived in.
It’s raw. It’s more real.
Flint is more than the sum of its parts. But its parts! Its nationally renowned FIA and cultural center, internationally recognized mural project, local artists and galleries, original lyricists, dedicated poets, videographers, and fashionistas. You can’t look and not be moved by color, sound, mood, style and more.
While other Michigan Main streets have boarded-up businesses, vacant storefronts, and aggressive 2021 plans to get business back, we are experiencing something different on Saginaw Street in Flint. Your main street during a global pandemic opened up a black/brown bookstore, two coffee roasters, Savage Village Art Collective now has a space above Local 432, and there is the new Hilton hotel and Italian restaurant. As I write this, your skate shop and longest standing downtown cafe are expanding and a new alley hang out space is being built off Brush Alley behind The Cork. Salons have stayed open, and new beauty parlors have come to join the scene. You held 9AM step classes with Curvy Girl Fitness on Saturday morning in Brush Park that sold out! Your music is alive; there are bands and poets along your main street and hip-hop videos and music are being produced every day in the surrounding neighborhoods. You opened a farm-to-table hard cider joint and cut ribbon on the new Marketplace housing that is full of life - you can drive by and see each balcony decorated uniquely.
What other similar-sized cities are experiencing this type of growth right now?
Not to mention, you can still visit The Loft, one of the longest standing clubs in Downtown Flint and enter from Buckham Alley, where one of the “top dive bars in America,” The Torch who famously slings burgers and a personal discovery, serves absinthe (have you seen the hardware and sugar?). Goodboy expanded and just launched Good Girl with Natroil Grooming. Flint City Tees is still the place to be, and Bedrock has become a second home to black culture icons around the nation. This year we saw the first family Halloween in downtown and first real adaptation of winter markets; go check them out at Market Tap and Flint City Hard Cider or book yourself an igloo at Xolo.
I just ask that we keep paying more attention to the music, cartoons, jazz, virtual streams, and more coming from this city.
Right now, as we enter 2021, Flint’s cultural renaissance is happening.