Artist, curator, and Detroit native Ingrid LaFleur is running in the city’s upcoming mayoral race, Sarah Rose Sharp of Hyperallergic reports. On February 28, the arts professional announced her 2017 bid during a party at the headquarters of art collective O.N.E. Mile, calling herself a “concerned citizen” with an in-depth understanding of the city’s needs.
She said, “The truth is, my experiences as a creative and as a Detroiter have led me to this decision . . . As a curator, I observe, research, investigate, and then bring together the elements to make a cohesive statement and/or action. As an artist, I tend to focus on out-of-the-box ways to resolve issues that I face. I am using all of those skills to create a healthy, sustainable city.”
After growing up in Detroit, LaFleur left the city to attend New York University and engage in the contemporary art world. She interned at the Museum for African Art, worked for galleries in New York, and traveled the world, viewing art in London, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro. LaFleur curated exhibitions in Atlanta and lived in Pittsburgh, where she established an artist-in-residency program with the Andy Warhol Museum called “Homewood,” along with cofounding an art organization in Sewickley.
LaFleur moved back to her home state in 2010 and has worked to improve her city by launching initiatives such as AFROTOPIA, an Afrofutursit project that organizes exhibitions and workshops addressing social issues. She said, “Returning home to Detroit and witnessing our challenges firsthand definitely influenced me, but in particular teaching youth. I’ve spent three years teaching youth all over the city of Detroit. This is how I was able to learn the full scope of our issues. Sixty-seven percent of our youth live in poverty. Our children, who are our future, are living without water, are going hungry, and their schools are closing in their neighborhoods. If that isn’t a motivating factor, I don’t know what is.”
Poet, activist, and Detroit resident since 2014, Casey Rocheteau said she will support LaFleur’s campaign. “She is the only candidate who will work with grassroots water, education, and transportation justice activists—people who live in this city and have worked tirelessly to try to ensure equity for all of Detroit’s residents. She’s someone who’s not just paying lip service to making our neighborhoods better, and who has the ingenuity to find solutions in ways career politicians won’t.”