This Week, One Detroit Arts & Culture features three stories produced by one of its partner programs “Detroit Performs: Live From Marygrove,” as part of One Detroit’s ongoing commitment to collaborative storytelling across Metro Detroit. 

This Week on One Detroit Arts & Culture:

Painting Nature: Artist Jennifer Lanzilotti Uses Fallen Leaves As Her Canvas

Artist Jennifer Lanzilotti knew she has a lot of creativity inside of her, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she began to let it out. As a mother with a background in social work, she left her career to spend more time with her family, but along the way she found a renewed sense of creativity that was dormant before.

First, she began writing novels, but one fall as she returned to her car windshield covered in maple leaves she had an epiphany to paint. Her canvas? The leaves themselves.

The “Detroit Performs: Live From Marygrove” team sits down with Lanzilotti to hear how she began painting fallen tree leaves and her love of natural landscapes that she found in the process. Lanzilotto talks about her process of finding, selecting, and preparing the leaves for painting. Plus, she talks about the other, newer mediums she has painted, finding her creativity again as an adult, and her goals as an artist and writer moving forward.

Henna Artist Lydia Hannah Wilson Finds A Creative Community in Metro Detroit After Moving From India

Growing up in South India, artist Lydia Hannah Wilson, who found Henna body art at age 10, was always interested in design, though in her culture it was uncommon for young people to study fine arts. As she moved to the United States a few years ago, she brought the cultural traditions of Henna body art to the Detroit community, but what she found in return was a place where she felt free to explore every avenue of her creativity as an artist.

“I think any field, any art, it has to give hope; a sense of living to the person who is seeing it. Not depress them, but encourage them,” Wilson says.

The “Detroit Performs: Live From Marygrove” team catches up with Wilson to talk about her start as a henna artist, the different applications of henna art, the cultural history of what henna art represents to Indian culture, and the education of South Indian culture she’s brought to Detroit through her artwork. Plus, Wilson discusses her different art pieces, from freeform paintings to cultural portraits, calligraphy and works reacting to social issues. 

Mariners Inn Uses Art Therapies to Help Men Struggling With Homelessness, Substance Abuse

At Mariners Inn, a treatment center and shelter for men dealing with homelessness and substance abuse issues, the organization’s clients find more than help. They find therapy and healing. “Recovery is real, and it begins at Mariners Inn,” says Brittany Miles, the clinical treatment director at Mariners Inn, which provides a range of art and creative therapies to help clients express what they’ve gone through when it’s difficult to find the words.

The “Detroit Performs: Live From Marygrove” team visits the treatment center for a look at what it offers to Detroiters in need. Mariners Inn art therapist Karianne Spens-Hanna and Miles share the types of art therapies clients can be introduced to at the shelter and the benefits each medium provides. Plus, The Poets of Mariners Inn Workshop Facilitator Joel Greene and Baba Kevin Collins, an African drummer with Heritage Works, talk about the poetry and music programs they lead at Mariners Inn.


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