If you ask 21-year-old Alexis Escoto, summer in Southwest Detroit is all about the cool spray of an open fire hydrant; it’s kids laughing as they run and play; neighbors riding their bikes and walking through Clark Park; a musical fusion rising on Vernor Highway. It's more time outdoors surrounded by his community’s vibrant murals celebrating neighbors' cultural heritage, everyday life, and vitality.
"Having a mural on a building is a free way to relax and enjoy the city, nature, and local artists," he says. "Seeing them gives [people] a break from
Alexis Escoto work, school, or whatever life situation they’re in. They can walk throughout the community and appreciate all the colors of the community."
Escoto is a member of the Detroit Creative Society (DCS), a self-named collective of young people across Southwest Detroit, ages 14 to 26. The group is housed at the Congress of Communities (COC), a local nonprofit dedicated to creating cross-community conversations and collaboration between residents, stakeholders, and youth.
The collective, having just celebrated its first year, aims to foster and uplift artists and talents in Southwest Detroit by providing the access and support they need to grow.