In 2012, Paulina Petkoski and Samantha Schefman launched Playground Detroit, a company targeted to promote and consult with music and visual artists in Detroit. This year, they plan on opening a permanent space in Eastern Market.
Previously, Petkoski and Schefman worked out of New York, and then out of a residential loft in Detroit. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, and Motor City Match, Playground Detroit was able to find the new space set to open this summer. Petkoski said she believes the new commercial storefront will help Playground Detroit's artists to accomplish their goals.
“Spaces that are safe and inclusive for creative people to not just be recognized, [and] active think tanks are super important when you think about redeveloping and re-imagining what the city can be in the future,” Petkoski said.
Petkoski and Schefman said they work together to help artists achieve their goals and find resources like grants or partnerships that will help them. The band Valley Hush even worked with Playground Detroit to create their most recent album cover.
“Playground Detroit facilitated the collaboration between us, artist Clinton Snider and photographer Tony Katai, for our record cover,” band member, Lianna Vianacelli said. “When we were in the process of developing the idea, Samantha knew exactly who to connect us with and we had a few meetings together to solidify the concept and get it going. They're just very supportive all around.”
Artist Luke Mack said he also benefited greatly from his collaboration with Playground Detroit during his six week residency with them. His collaboration with the organization helped him to gain connections with artists in Detroit who could critique his work and teach him new techniques.
“I think there is the perception that in order to be part of the art world you have to live in New York or Los Angeles, or other big cities around the world,” Mack said. “If artists are given more opportunities here within Detroit, they are more likely to stay here in the city…Detroit has a voice that needs to be heard.”
Schefman said she hopes the new space will make Detroit into a more creative city.
“Especially due to its location, the new Playground Detroit space will bridge gaps in Detroit's current art and retail landscape and also bridge a gap between Detroit's greater community and its creative community,” Schefman said. “I'm excited to bring something one-of-a-kind to Detroit that inspires and encourages creativity, growth and education.”