MOCAD is where adventurous minds encounter the best in contemporary visual, literary, music, and performing arts. A responsive center for diverse audiences, MOCAD presents art that contextualizes, interprets, educates and expands culture, pushing us to the edges of contemporary experience.
Located on Woodward and Garfield between the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Institute of the Arts, Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies, the museum is an innovative addition to Detroit’s vibrant Midtown neighborhood, and functions as a hub for the exploration of emerging ideas in the contemporary arts. The 22,000 square foot building, a former auto dealership, has been simply renovated to maintain its historic character. With its raw, flexible and cavernous spaces, the building is well suited to the exhibition of contemporary art. Our ambitious series of public programs includes lectures, musical performances, films, literary readings and educational activities for children.
MOCAD’s building has ground-level entry, with one accessible main entrance and is a one-story building with no need for stairs or elevators. The building is accessible by public transportation, and has designated handicap parking spaces. The assembly areas of the building are adaptable to integrated and dispersed wheelchair seating as necessary. MOCAD’s exhibit areas and counters are wheelchair-accessible. The gift store manager is aware of ADA requirements and trains staff how to assist those with extra needs. Guided tours are available for those who are vision impaired. MOCAD has a list of sign language interpreters to call in as needed for our lectures and talks. Our bathrooms are wheelchair-accessible, with accessible sinks and water fountains. MOCAD has a designated staff member responsible for overseeing accessibility. Front desk staff are trained to address accessibility questions and service animal etiquette. If you are in need of accommodations, please contact Amy Corle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MOCAD
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit began in 1995 when Detroit Free Press art critic Marsha Miro and the late Susanne Feld Hilberry, renowned owner of the former Susanne Hilberry Gallery, envisioned a new museum that would expand Detroit’s contemporary art community. By connecting to the national and international art world, MOCAD was intended to be a nexus for educating the public about current arts and music, and play a critical role in helping regenerate the City through the arts.
Miro, MOCAD’s Founding Director, began working with a small circle of contemporary art lovers and collectors to help realize the idea. Miro approached the Detroit Institute of Art’s Richard Manoogian, who saw the importance of the project immediately and agreed to support it. In January 2004, Miro and an advisory group of Masco Foundation and Manoogian Foundation directors—Lillian Bauder, Sharon Rothwell, and Melonie Colaianne–began envisioning the new museum with the help of the arts community. At their suggestion, Manoogian purchased and began renovating a former car dealership on Woodward Avenue and Garfield Street in Midtown Detroit for what would become the
Another pivotal date in the history of MOCAD occurred on May 11, 2013 when the Museum opened its sole permanent installation: Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead, a trailer-mounted life-size replica of Kelley’s childhood home in Westland, Michigan. Kelley–a former Detroiter and one of the most important artists of our time–began working on the idea with Marsha Miro and James Lingwood of London’s ArtAngel in 2006. A long time friend of Miro’s, Kelley for years had suggested that the project be located at MOCAD and worked to realize the project until his death.
MOCAD’S founders conceived of MOCAD as a Kunsthalle, or a non-collecting “art hall” that organizes and hosts temporary exhibitions of new and experimental artists. With the exception of Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead, MOCAD does not have a permanent collection of artwork to maintain and this allows more resources to be devoted to public programs for youth and adults, support for living artists, and the presentation of new work by emerging artists. In addition to visual art, the Museum is dedicated to presenting music, literature, and film made by local, national, and international artists and to the examination of critical theory and the built environment. An archive of past exhibitions and programs can be found here.
MOCAD is proud to function as a hub for the exploration of emerging ideas in the contemporary arts and to present art at the forefront of contemporary culture, remaining responsive to the cultural content of our time, fueling crucial dialogue, collaboration, and public engagement. Admission to the Museum is donation based and our programs are free or low cost to ensure that MOCAD remains accessible to all. We invite you to visit MOCAD today and to join us as we create the history of our future.
Download a PDF of the Executive Summary of MOCAD’s Strategic Plan.
Founded in 2006, MOCAD was a pioneer in Midtown—repurposing an abandoned warehouse, building-up the neighborhood, and adding much-needed programming and space into the community. Detroit’s resurgence is due to important, impactful work such as this. MOCAD brings life and hope in unexpected ways in addition to unprecedented access to the arts for all. Learn more by downloading MOCAD’s Impact Statement.
For press releases and inquiries, visit our Press + Media page.
Our 22,000 square foot historic venue is available to host just about any occasion. To learn more, visit our Facility Rental page.