Tag Archives: GM Renaissance Center

The GMRENCEN’s Winter Beauty

Detroit winters may be cold, but they’re also undeniably beautiful.

 

Between the icy Detroit River, snow-capped ground and breathtaking sunrises, winter in Detroit is one of the best times to experience the Motor City. Below we’ve compiled some of the winter beauty of the #GMRENCEN through our Your Photo Here Contest.

 

Photo by Jason Clemens

 

Photo by Ray Akey

 

Photo by Matthew Garin

 

Photo by Suzann Braun

 

Photo by Wade Bryant

 

Photo by Ray Akey

 

Photo by Jason Clemens

 

Photo by Suzann Braun

 

Photo by Evans Tasiopoulos

 

It may be cold outside, but winter in Detroit is nothing to miss. If you have a winter photo to share, tag us on Instagram or use #GMRENCEN for a chance to be featured on our social pages.

Highlands: A True Detroit Dining Experience

Towering 71 and 72 floors above the city, Highlands Detroit is now taking reservations for a truly unique dining experience in the sky.

 

From the non-traditional riff on the classic steakhouse at Highlands, to a casual-cool eatery at Hearth71, to the buzzy, spirited High Bar, you’ll experience high quality high above the city at Highlands Detroit.

 

The views are worthy of date night, after-work cocktails, pre-game shenanigans or a “just because” outing.

 

Food

 

Say cheese! Sample it all with the Artisan Cheese Board, which offers the perfect amount of variety for any palate.

 

Indulge in savory Bacon-Wrapped Medjool Dates, the perfect start to any meal.

 

Start out strong at Hearth 71 with a classic app like the Italian Prosciutto and Burrata Board, complete with shaved prosciutto, creamy burrata and herbed pine nut relish.

 

Moving on up to the main course. After all, Highlands is Detroit’s premier steakhouse in the sky.

 

Feeling saucy? Highlands Detroit may be a steakhouse, but the seafood is truly mouthwatering.

 

There’s nothing like a bowl full of perfectly cooked mussels. Yum!

 

Feed your soul with an order of Highlands’ savory Mushroom Bucatini. Take it up a notch and pair your dish with a light white wine.

 

Why choose between land and lake? A little surf, a little turf and a whole lotta wonderful.

 

End on a sweet note with an order of Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies topped with sea salt and served with a Guernsey Farms Milkshake. Remember, the calories don’t count 71 floors up.

 

Drinks

 

Experience the cocktail as an art form at High Bar.

 

Raise your glass, whether it’s vodka, wine or a handcrafted Whiskey Sour.

 

The Chef’s robust whiskey collection.

 

Racks on racks of aged wine.

 

Whether you have a party of one or four, reserve your table today.

 

Highlands Detroit is ready for you.

 

Whether you’re local or just passing through, Highlands Detroit welcomes you to experience top of the tower dining at its finest. Reserve your table today.

Holiday Pop-Up Shops Head to the GMRENCEN

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the GMRENCEN! As the ground turns snowy white and noses turn ruby red, it’s hard to resist getting into a festive spirit.

 

This holiday season, the GMRENCEN will host nearly 30 metro Detroit businesses – including 3DOGS1CAT, Detroit Grooming Co., Made in Detroit, Whimsical Wit and more – to make the holidays extra special for the fifth annual Holiday Headquarters. For three holly jolly weeks in December, Holiday Headquarters will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays running Dec. 2 through Dec. 20.

 

‘Tis the season to shop for the perfect gifts, tasty treats and so much more at the rotating pop-up shops located on Level 1 in Tower 300 by the AT&T and Verizon kiosks. There you can find everything from handcrafted art, Detroit apparel, handmade soaps, unique jewelry, delicious dessert confections, fun pet merchandise and more.

 

You can shop, buy and wrap your presents all in one place thanks to Holiday Headquarters’ complimentary gift-wrapping station. Additionally, holiday shoppers can leave business cards at the gift wrap desk in Holiday Headquarters for a chance to win a sweet prize from one of the featured vendors.

 

 

If you haven’t heard, another holiday favorite, Santa Claus is coming to town at the GMRENCEN! The big guy in the red suit will be available to listen to all of your holiday wishes and take complimentary photos in the Jefferson Lobby from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday starting Friday, Nov. 29 through Monday, Dec. 23.

 

Come see Santa in the North Pole, which has been transformed into a snowy oasis complete with his famous sports car “sleigh,” for a chance to win breakfast with Santa. Children will also receive a festive goody bag.

 

The holiday scene has certainly been set at the GMRENCEN, which is decorated with beautiful white lights illuminating the trees along Jefferson Avenue and Atwater Street as well as glimmering stars floating above the GM Wintergarden, creating a sparkly, wintery appearance. In the spirit of giving, Toys for Tots bins will be set up inside Holiday Headquarters from Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec. 6 for people wanting to donate unwrapped, unused toys to children.

 

The holidays are a busy time of year. From shopping for loved ones, wrapping presents and visiting Santa, check everything off your holiday to-do list at the GMRENCEN. In addition to the pop-up shops, the permanent retail stores and the nearly 30 dining options inside the GMRENCEN are open during normal business hours. Whether you’re parking on-site or traveling via the Detroit People Mover, Holiday Headquarters is just around the corner.

 

Check out this year’s vendors below and keep in mind vendors rotate each week.

 

Week One: Dec. 2- Dec. 6

 

  • 3DOGS1CAT – Offers a wide variety of quality, top-rated products for dogs and cats. They also provide unique and distinctive pet-themed gifts for the people who love them.
  • Bird Bee – A unique boutique is all about wearing what makes you feel good. These clothing options and accessories are for the free spirited and expressive soul.
  • Burton & Levy – Born out of a need for a better beard comb, Burton & Levy specializes in men’s facial hair care, body lotions, moisturizers and other beauty products.
  • Dcreated Boutique – Handcrafts one of a kind vintage and bohemian inspired baby garments right here in Michigan. They also carry highly curated baby products from mom makers nationwide.
  • Free Phoenix – A unique gift shop focused on an eclectic mix of jewelry, gifts and décor, located in Ferndale, Mich.
  • Germack Pistachio Co – Germack has been part of Detroit holidays since 1924. Located in Eastern Market, Germack is America’s first pistachio importer and roaster. Celebrate the holidays with Germack gifts of fresh Detroit roasted nuts and coffee, fine chocolates and candies.
  • GRAMMAR – A minimal, thoughtfully designed ceramic jewelry created in small batches for conscientious design lovers. Locally designed and handcrafted to make a statement, be lightweight and worn frequently.
  • Love Travels. Imports. – Creates ethically made artisan made women’s accessories, home decor and gift items made with love.
  • Made in Detroit – A Detroit original apparel brand since 1991 – tough times don’t last, tough people do.
  • Maria Lamia Boutique – A women’s boutique located in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. carrying a variety of items from clothing to gifts.
  • Motor City Brick – Through a deeply-rooted dedication to the upcycling effort, Motor City Brick prints Detroit and Michigan art on historic Clippert bricks (circa 1890 to 1930), as well as on stone and artifact woods salvaged from deconstructed homes. Get yourself a piece of Detroit’s past. These historic bricks, stones and wood pieces combine to make some truly unique home decor and gifts.
  • Motor City Popcorn – Offers gourmet popcorn in a variety of flavors including The Motor City Mix, The Belle Isle Blend and more.
  • The Peacock Room – A vintage-inspired women’s boutique featuring apparel, accessories and gifts located in historic buildings in Detroit’s Midtown and New Center neighborhoods.
  • Toni’s Collection – Toni’s Collection embodies home fragrances. Its hand-crafted candles are made with a luxurious proprietary blend of coconut and soy wax. Toni’s Collection products are eco-friendly, long lasting and triple scented.
  • Whimsical Wit – A carefully curated home and gift shop in Ferndale featuring local and international artisans. Specializing in all things that make a house a home.

 

Week Two: Dec. 9- Dec.13

 

  • 3DOGS1CAT – Offers a wide variety of quality, top-rated products for dogs and cats. They also provide unique and distinctive pet-themed gifts for the people who love them.
  • Bath Savvy – An all-natural female and family-owned company from Detroit that specializes in handmade soaps, whipped body butter and lip balms. They also offer a wide selection of shower bombs, skin scrubs and gift items.
  • Dcreated Boutique – Handcrafts one of a kind vintage and bohemian inspired baby garments right here in Michigan. They also carry highly curated baby products from mom makers nationwide.
  • Detroit Respect – Detroit Respect is a clothing company that embraces the love that people have for the city. They will be selling Detroit clothing, coasters, and magnets for that special someone on your holiday list.
  • Germack Pistachio Co – Germack has been part of Detroit holidays since 1924. Located in Eastern Market, Germack is America’s first pistachio importer and roaster. Celebrate the holidays with Germack gifts of fresh Detroit roasted nuts and coffee, fine chocolates and candies.
  • Green Olive Soaps – A family-owned business that provides luxury organic and vegan skin care.
  • Le Detroit Macaron – An authentic French macaron patisserie located in the heart of Hamtramck, MI that sells over 13 unique macaron flavors such as Fruity Pebbles, Oreo Cheesecake and Chocolate Hazelnut, but also with a mix of the traditional flavors such as Rose Cardamom, Lavender and Vanilla Bean.
  • Made in Detroit – A Detroit original apparel brand since 1991 – tough times don’t last, tough people do.
  • The Mighty Mitten – Artist owned and operated, The Mighty Mitten sells art inspired by scenes from all around the mitten state.
  • Motor City Brick – Through a deeply-rooted dedication to the upcycling effort, Motor City Brick prints Detroit and Michigan art on historic Clippert bricks (circa 1890 to 1930), as well as on stone and artifact woods salvaged from deconstructed homes. Get yourself a piece of Detroit’s past. These historic bricks, stones and wood pieces combine to make some truly unique home decor and gifts.
  • Motor City Popcorn – Offers gourmet popcorn in a variety of flavors including The Motor City Mix, The Belle Isle Blend and more.
  • The Peacock Room – A vintage-inspired women’s boutique featuring apparel, accessories and gifts located in historic buildings in Detroit’s Midtown and New Center neighborhoods.
  • Street Eatzz – Street Eatzz blends spices and sauces to represent Detroit’s ethnic melting pot.
  • Toni’s Collection – Toni’s Collection embodies home fragrances. Its hand-crafted candles are made with a luxurious proprietary blend of coconut and soy wax. Toni’s Collection products are eco-friendly, long lasting and triple scented.
  • Whimsical Wit – A carefully curated home and gift shop in Ferndale featuring local and international artisans. Specializing in all things that make a house a home.

 

Week Three: Dec. 16- Dec.20

 

  • 3DOGS1CAT – Offers a wide variety of quality, top-rated products for dogs and cats. They also provide unique and distinctive pet-themed gifts for the people who love them.
  • Blooms and Baubles – Native Michigan jewelry artist who works in both new and upcycled materials. Featuring a wide variety of personalized metal, leather and glass photo jewelry.
  • Detroit Grooming Co. – Offers hand crafted men’s grooming products including beard products, collectible razors, hair and skin products and gift sets for men with beards and men who shave.
  • Ferne Boutique – A contemporary women’s clothing boutique with classic styles for women of all ages.
  • Germack Pistachio Co – Germack has been part of Detroit holidays since 1924. Located in Eastern Market, Germack is America’s first pistachio importer and roaster. Celebrate the holidays with Germack gifts of fresh Detroit roasted nuts and coffee, fine chocolates and candies.
  • GUS & GREY – A specialty food small business located in the heart of Detroit that uses extremely low amounts of cane sugar and no pectin or preservatives, so its jam actually tastes like fruit.
  • Kiloh & Ko – A woman-owned boutique for the local lovin’ and ambitious woman.
  • Little High Flyers – A Detroit-based boutique named Best of Detroit 2018 and 2019. They curate organic, fair trade items from small women owned businesses around the globe.
  • The Mighty Mitten – Artist owned and operated, The Mighty Mitten sells art inspired by scenes from all around the mitten state.
  • Motor City Popcorn – Offers gourmet popcorn in a variety of flavors including The Motor City Mix, The Belle Isle Blend and more.
  • The Peacock Room – A vintage-inspired women’s boutique featuring apparel, accessories and gifts located in historic buildings in Detroit’s Midtown and New Center neighborhoods.
  • Street Eatzz – Street Eatzz blends spices and sauces to represent Detroit’s ethnic melting pot.
  • Toni’s Collection – Toni’s Collection embodies home fragrances. Its hand-crafted candles are made with a luxurious proprietary blend of coconut and soy wax. Toni’s Collection products are eco-friendly, long lasting and triple scented.
  • Well Done Goods by Cyberoptix – A men and women’s accessories shop that serves as Cyberoptix’s flagship retail store. Shoppers can find home-goods, pillows, barware, ceramics and unique ties under the brand.
  • Whimsical Wit – A carefully curated home and gift shop in Ferndale featuring local and international artisans. Specializing in all things that make a house a home.

 

Artist Spotlight: Chris Burton

The GMRENCEN is dedicated to the safety of our tenants and visitors. In compliance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order, new procedures and precautions are now in place at the GMRENCEN. Learn more about our new guidelines here.

 

Local photographer Chris Burton has seen Detroit’s true colors. After moving back to the city from a two-year stint in Dallas, he’s returned with a new goal:  showcase Detroit as a beautiful space with cool things to see and do.

 

In October 2019, Chris took over the GMRENCEN Instagram account to show you Detroit from his perspective.

 

Here is everything you need to know about Chris and his takeover.

 

He’s rediscovering the city through photography.

 

It all started when he moved back. Chris picked his camera up after returning to the city because he was overtaken by all the architecture and art in Detroit.

 

Though he had a positive first impression of the Motor City, he became more familiar with it through his photography. He spent his nights walking around with his camera to capture the sights that caught his eye.

 

He’s self-taught.

 

From first picking up a camera in high school to developing music videos to booking his weekends full of wedding and real estate shoots, his photography encompasses a wide-range of purpose and style.

 

But for Chris, photography was a self-taught skill. Though he’s only been shooting for about two years now, his work has grown tremendously thanks to his late-night walks trying new things and honing his craft.

 

He sees Detroit in a positive light.

 

As he travels, Chris enjoys sharing the beauty he experiences with his audience. Detroit is no exception.

 

“I personally love Detroit, but I think people’s first opinion of Detroit tends to be negative,” said Chris. “I’d love to change that.”

 

With his audience reaching across the states, he can introduce his followers to a city they have only heard about. Luckily for Detroit, he has plenty of good things to share.

 

He thinks Detroit is the most exciting city.

 

Chris’s work will always showcase something new. Whether it’s a bird’s-eye view of the city’s skyline or a snapshot of dinner and drinks at the hottest restaurant in town, he wants to share his experiences with you.

 

“I think Detroit is the most exciting city,” he said. “It seems every month, something new is opening.”

 

 

 

He loves a place with a view.

 

As a photographer, Chris loves any place that allows him to experience cool views, and there’s something special about being high above the city. According to Chris, you can get such a different perspective from up high.

 

“I love the GMRENCEN”, Chris said. “Volt in the Detroit Marriott is one of the coolest, most lowkey places in Detroit. It’s one of the city’s best kept secrets.”

 

He also enjoys the exclusivity of some of the city’s newer hot spots, such as the Monarch Club, Little Caesars Arena and Highlands Detroit.

 

He appreciates the details.

 

Chris’s photography is based off capturing the intricate details of a city that might otherwise go unnoticed. With an appreciation for the history and culture behind the city’s architecture, he wants to make people aware, seeing the same things they’ve seen before but in a new perspective.

 

“Detroit has some amazing architecture, but often times, people can walk by some of those finer details without even noticing,” he said. “I want to make people see a photograph of something they’ve seen before, but this time realizing just how cool the details behind it are.”

 

He is inspired.

 

For Chris, the whole process is inspiring. His journey of exploring different parts of the city always takes him somewhere new, leading him to create art from his camera.

 

“I’m trying to help people see their own backyard in a different light,” he said. “I’d love for them to see things in a different way and truly appreciate what they’re walking by.”

 

He believes in working outside of your comfort zone.

 

“Take something you’re afraid to do and do it,” said Chris. “Be confident in yourself. If you put in the work, there’s a lot more you can accomplish.”

 

Chris Burton lives in Detroit. Follow him on Instagram or check out his online portfolio to see more of his work.

 

Fall into the Season at the GMRENCEN

It happens every year. Warm summer nights transition into crisp, cool fall mornings. Deep green leaves turn into vibrant reds, oranges and yellows before falling off the trees. Sundays become game days.

 

From changing colors to changing menus, here’s what to expect from fall fun, fashion and food at the GMRENCEN.

 

Fall Fun

 

When you think of fall, what do you imagine? Whether it’s crisp leaves crunching beneath your feet, cool wind whipping through your hair or beautiful fall foliage all around you, you can experience it all here in Detroit. The Detroit RiverWalk is the perfect place to take in the sights and sounds of fall. It also happens to be one of the city’s most Instagrammable hot spots, along with the GMRENCEN.

 

 

Leaves aren’t the only colorful fall foliage to capture your attention this season. From giant sunflowers to dainty mums, light yellows to dark reds, nothing showcases the look of autumn like a beautiful floral arrangement. Fall is the perfect time to treat yourself or a loved one to a little something special – like a personal bouquet made by Ashley at Ashley’s Flowers.

 

Change is in the air, so why not change up your fitness routine? Whether it’s Running for Brews or a Chili Cook-Off and Tailgate, there’s always something to do at RenCen Fitness. As you draft your to-do list this season, be sure to throw in a few fun events at RenCen Fitness. After all, balance is key.

 

Fall Fashion

 

 

 

Extra layers are essential for fall. With the weather getting chillier, it’s time to talk about scarves, sweaters and stylish jackets. Everyone has their own fall style. For a fresh city look, check out Pure Detroit’s line of cozy hoodies to keep you warm this season. If that’s not your thing, the GM Company Store has plenty of thick jackets to represent all your favorite brands and protect you from the cold.

 

Fall Flavors

 

Dive into a pile of fall by experiencing all the flavors Panera has to offer. From traditional bowls of turkey chili or warm grains to something sweeter like Panera’s cinnamon-themed seasonal menu, this really is fall “food as it should be.”

 

 

Nothing warms the soul faster than a hot cup of soup. With 12 delicious flavors prepared each day, Zoup’s got you covered in the soup department! From classics like Fire Roasted Tomato Bisque, Clam Chowder and Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle to explosions of flavor like Pepper Steak, Jamaican Bay Gumbo and Ginger Butternut Squash, you’ll stay warm and cozy all season long.

 

Who says s’mores are just for summer? Even though the weather is getting cooler, there’s still plenty of time to warm up next to a blazing bonfire. Because of this, Potbelly recently made a brand-new s’mores cookie for the fall. S’mores season isn’t over just yet!

 

 

A list of fall flavors would be incomplete without including pumpkin spice. Starbucks has certainly come prepared for the changing seasons, offering delicious drinks like the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Salted Caramel Mocha and of course the PSL. It may be considered basic, but it’s a classic for a reason.

 

Fall is the perfect time to plan sweet dates and activities. As the weather cools down, heat up with a special date night for you and your significant other. You never know what you’ll find to do in Detroit, whether it’s a crisp walk along the Riverfront or a romantic Sweetest Day dinner at Joe Muer Detroit.

 

High above the city on the 71st and 72nd floor of the GMRENCEN, Highlands Detroit welcomes you to enjoy fall from an elevated view. No matter what your plans are this season – a quick drink after work, a party with your closest friends or an unforgettable night of elite dining – this year will truly be extra special with the November opening of Highlands.

 

There’s plenty of fun, fashion and food at the GMRENCEN this season. Be sure to check these, and more, off your fall bucket list and share your experiences with us on the GMRENCEN Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#GMRENCEN in the Fall

The dog days of summer have officially ended and now it’s time for fall. As the weather cools, the leaves fall and the days shorten, be sure to look around you and enjoy the beautiful colors of a Detroit autumn.

 

There are many breathtaking photos of the GMRENCEN and fall foliage, but here are some of our favorites.

 

Photo by Tom Hughes

 

Photo by Linda Moss

 

Photo by Jason Clemens

 

Photo by David Saliba

 

Photo by Steven Samolinski

 

Photo by Mark McClelland

 

Photo by Wade Bryant

 

Photo by Christopher Hollis

 

Photo by Suzann Braun

 

There’s certainly more to come as the colors continue to change around the city! Which of these is your favorite fall photo?

Soul Asylum, Little River Band and More Thrill Detroit Rock City

 

The 2019 Chevrolet Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series rocked our past six Friday nights, and as always, we’re sad to see the season come to an end. The free concert series featured classic rock artists, including The Marshall Tucker Band, Mark Farner’s American Band, Soul Asylum, Loverboy, Jon Anderson of Yes and Little River Band.

 

In partnership with 94.7 WCSX Classic Rock radio station, we hosted Rockin’ Wars – inviting local talent to win the opportunity to open for this year’s headliners. Winners were: Birds of Prey, Pink Pumps, The Harponics, Ezra, Feed the Monster and Mob Opera.

 

The Marshall Tucker Band

With hit singles like “Can’t You See,” “Heard It in a Love Song” and “Take the Highway,” The Marshall Tucker Band was a great start to this year’s concert series. Rockin’ Wars winner Birds of Prey opened the show.

 

 

Mark Farner’s American Band

A little rain didn’t stop the Flint, Mich. band from dominating the show with songs like “We’re an American Band,” “The Loco-Motion” and “I’m Your Captain.” Rockin’ Wars winner the Pink Pumps welcomed Mark Farner’s American Band to the stage. We even saw a newlywed couple check out the show, and before that, a rainbow!

 

 

Soul Asylum

Grammy-award winning Soul Asylum brought their own style of American alternative rock to the riverfront. They performed all of their top hits including “Runaway Train,” “Black Gold” and “Misery.” The Harponics opened the show.

 

 

Loverboy

For more than 30 years, Loverboy has been “Working for the Weekend” and delighted our Rockin’ audience with their trademark red leather pants, bandannas and big rock sound. We heard from Rockin’ Wars winner Ezra before Loverboy rocked the riverfront.

 

 

Jon Anderson of Yes

With timeless hits, including “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Long Distance Runaround,” “Awaken” and “Roundabout,” fans expected nothing less from Jon Anderson of Yes. Feed the Monster opened the show.

 

 

Little River Band

Described as “the best singing band in the world,” Little River Band closed the series with their timeless hits such as “Reminiscing,” “Cool Change” and “Help is on Its Way.”

 

 

Before opening act Mob Opera took the stage, we heard from My Kid Rocks winner Set ‘N’ Stone. The teenagers, Austin Kucken, Nik Kaljaj, Mat Kaljaj, and Austin Hart wowed fans with their take on “Go, Johnny, Go” and “867-5309/Jenny.”

 

Thanks again to our sponsors Chevrolet, Andiamo, 94.7 WCSX and the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center for helping make the series a success year after year.

 

What was your favorite memory of this year’s series? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to like Rockin’ on Facebook for information on next year’s concert series.

 

15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Detroit Fist

The Joe Louis Fist serves as an iconic Detroit landmark near Hart Plaza on Jefferson Avenue, right across the street from the GMRENCEN. You’ve drove past it, taken photos in front of it and probably wondered about it. So here are some fun facts you may not know about the city staple.

      1. The statue was completed by sculptor Robert Graham in 1986, nine years after the opening party for the GM Renaissance Center.
      2. Graham also sculpted the statue of President Roosevelt at the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.
      3. The statue pays tribute to famed boxer Joe Louis, who defeated German boxer Max Schmeling in 1938.
      4. Louis’ win was considered an American win during World War II.
      5. The Joe Louis Fist was a gift from Sports Illustrated Magazine, dedicated on Oct. 16, 1986.
      6. At the time, it cost $350,000 to create.
      7. Despite common belief, the monument was not brought to Detroit for Joe Louis’ death, but for the Detroit Institute of Art’s centennial anniversary.
      8. The initial arm was modeled in clay at 14 inches in length.
      9.  

         

      10. Its structure is made of bronze and painted steel.
      11. The statue weighs 8,000 pounds (about four tons).
      12. It’s 24 feet long and can be seen from Canada.
      13. When the arm was unveiled, not everyone was pleased—there is still a controversy surrounding the statue.
      14. In response to the monument, sculptor Ed Hamilton created another statue of Joe Louis, which can be found in Cobo Center.
      15. To this day, we don’t know Graham’s exact intentions, as he worked in almost complete secrecy while creating the statue in California.
      16. What we do know is the Joe Louis Fist is abstract so that it may be seen as a symbol of the city. The exact symbol, however, is unknown, allowing people to draw their own conclusions.

       

       

      What does the Detroit fist mean to you? Let us know in the comments.

A New Perspective with Detroit Artist James Gates

James Gates is no stranger to Detroit. In fact, he spends most of his time here, capturing familiar sights from different perspectives

 

He entered the GMRENCEN’s Your Photo Here contest, a contest where local photographers submitted their best shots of the GMRENCEN for the chance to have the photo featured inside the building. It’s where we were first introduced to his work. You can view Gates’ photo on Level 2 in Tower 200. In August 2019, he took over the GMRENCEN Instagram account showcasing Detroit through his lenses.

 

What motivates you to shoot?

I started photography for the stress relief. I work in IT, and after a particularly grueling day I like to walk around with my camera to clear my head. During the day, people are just going and going constantly. With photography, I can take my time to get the effect I want to get. It requires patience and I like that.

 

What’s a typical photography outing like?

I always start and end at the GM Wintergarden, right on Atwater. From there I take a long walk along the Riverfront. It’s my favorite place in Detroit. I don’t necessarily know what I’m going to shoot, but I feel more relaxed when I come back.

 

How long have you been photographing?

I got into photography in the fall of 2014, and 2015 was a learning year, practicing long exposure and other types of shots. It started out inconsistent, but then I got hooked.

 

What was it like winning the GMRENCEN’s Your Photo Here Contest and being featured in the building?

It’s still such an honor. I had only been into photography for about a year and a half when I took that shot. My friend loved it so much and encouraged me share it. A little while later, the Your Photo Here Contest began, so I submitted my shot. It was a strange coincidence.

 

That photo is one of the first ones I took, and it’s still there.

 

 

What have you learned since then?

I feel it’s important for me to keep up with the times and continue learning new camera settings. I’m just constantly learning from other Detroit photographers.

 

Always look for a unique angle because you don’t want to be like everybody else.

 

Do you ever change up your style?

I’m always learning new ways to do things, but I tend to stick to one type at a time. I choose a technique and work on mastering it before jumping to the next thing. Right now, I’m trying to work filters into my photography. I’ll be at that for a while.

 

What challenges do you face with your photography?

One challenge that affects me is that I’m legally blind. This doesn’t really hinder my work, but it can be frustrating. Sometimes when I’m reviewing my work after a photoshoot, I’ll notice blemishes in my shots that I couldn’t see out in the field. Although this isn’t a huge issue with architectural photography, it would make portrait and other photography more difficult.

 

 

What did you want people to take away from your Instagram takeover?

I was born and raised in Detroit, so I have 30 plus years of good memories here, especially of the GMRENCEN. I want people to know I love Detroit and I hope that shows in my photos.

 

 

What did you want to convey with your GMRENCEN August takeover?

I wanted to share some of the photos I’ve taken on my walks, with a focus on the GMRENCEN and the Riverfront. It captured the authentic Detroit, complete with Cullen Plaza tulips, Milliken State Park Lighthouse and city sunsets.

 

James Gates lives in Detroit and is a legally blind photographer. See his work on his Instagram at @james.m.gates or check out his online portfolio at jgatesphotography.com.

Iconic Detroit City Lights

Bright lights, big city!

 

Downtown Detroit is aglow with sparkling lights, LED displays and thematic colors that make the city beam. Now that it’s getting dark out earlier we have more time to appreciate Detroit’s twinkling lights and displays.

 

Detroit Skybridge

 

The pedestrian bridge linking the Guardian Building and One Woodward recently got a colorful makeover. The bridge has been outfitted with lights that shift in color making it look like a color bar hovering between the buildings. Head to the Spirit of Detroit Plaza to get a full view of the chameleon skybridge.

 

Ally Detroit Center

 

 

The second-tallest building in Detroit is well-known for its postmodern architectural design topped with gothic-inspired spires. The spires were designed specifically to blend in with the city’s historic skyline. Every night the building shines color-changing lights from each of its spires creating a hauntingly beautiful look.

 

GMRENCEN

 

 

In 2011, the Renaissance Center added colored LED lighting on top of its towers. The building also added a large illuminated LED display featuring General Motors’ various vehicle brands. The lights also change to support special events. As the tallest building in Detroit, the lights and displays can be seen from all areas of Detroit.

 

Cobo Center

 

The final piece of Cobo Center’s 2015 renovation was eye-catching – and still is. A giant video board spans Jefferson Avenue serves as the convention center’s marquee making it the largest signage display in Detroit. The video screen can broadcast promotional messages, public service messages and can even broadcast live events from inside Cobo. It’s sometimes so bright at night you might think you’re in Times Square, NYC.

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Building

 

 

While the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Building may not have out-of-this-world light displays, they find other ways to mark holidays and certain Detroit events. The building arranges its office lights in certain patterns and uses color blocking to craft out unique shapes visible from the surrounding highways and Greektown. They’re known for displaying a Christmas tree before the December holiday, and a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon in October.

 

MotorCity Casino Hotel

 

 

The casino hotel is most notable for the sweeping roof design, a 304-foot-long stainless-steel ribbon that’s a nod to Detroit’s automotive history. Along the unique roof and on each floor of the hotel, the exterior features LED tube lights which form stunning visuals visible from downtown and the highway. It looks like no two color patterns are the same!

 

Ambassador Bridge

 

 

Well-known as the main connection linking Detroit and Windsor, the Ambassador Bridge can be seen day or night easily. The bridge features old-fashioned clear lightbulbs illuminating the journey from one country to another.

 

One Woodward

 

Not far from the Detroit Riverfront, One Woodward is a prominent building in Detroit’s skyline from the waterfront and Canada. The 28-story building features colored lighting throughout each floor, but its crown center at the top of the building dazzles each night. The building changes its colors throughout the night and often changes colors to participate in special community events.

 

What other displays light up Detroit’s downtown? Let us know in the comments!