February 25, 2021

DLECTRICITY Returns – September 24-25, 2021


  • DLECTRICITY will serve as an opportunity for testing out ideas from the Cultural Center Planning Initiative‘s digital and mobility strategies and showcase the district’s new Wi-Fi system
  • All-outdoor festival to feature stunning art and light installations and focus on safe visitor experiences in open spaces throughout Cultural Center District and Beacon Park
  • DTE Foundation returns as presenting sponsor and major foundations support event

DETROIT (25 February, 2021) – Stunning outdoor art and light installations will illuminate Midtown Detroit this September with the return of DLECTRICITY which last awed audiences in 2017. Produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI), and supported by the DTE Energy Foundation, the event’s supporting sponsor, the outdoor nighttime festival of art and light will take place in safe, open spaces throughout the Cultural Center District and Beacon Park, September 24-25, 2021. DLECTRICITY is presented by DTE Foundation and is free to the public. Artists and event details will be announced in the coming months. A video is available here.

“We are incredibly grateful to DTE Energy Foundation and our foundation partners for supporting the return of DLECTRICITY,” said Sue Mosey, Executive Director of MDI. “We are committed to producing a beautiful outdoor event and have engaged expert partners as we plan to safely come together, connecting with art and one another.”

The event is inspired by other international festivals known for bringing the best of contemporary light and technology-based arts to the streets of major cities from all over the world.

“At the DTE Energy Foundation, we know a healthy, energized Detroit is the underpinning of a healthier, more vital Michigan,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Energy Foundation. “That’s why we support DLECTRICITY, which will once again transform the Motor City through the power of art and culture. We’re grateful to bring DLECTRICITY to visitors from our own backyard – and those joining us from around the globe – and to continue to deliver energy and light to our city as we continue to lift each other up and move past the pandemic together.”

“Since 2012, we’ve seen firsthand DLECTRICITY’s power to inspire people and energize the Detroit region’s cultural center,” said Darin McKeever, President and Chief Executive Officer, William Davidson Foundation. “This year, with the need for safe opportunities and places to gather, DLECTRICITY will again provide us all light and connection.”

DLECTRICITY 2021 marks the fourth edition and includes the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, College for Creative Studies, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Public Library, Michigan Science Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), The Scarab Club, the University of Michigan’s Rackham Building, and Wayne State University. The festival debuted in 2012.

“The symbolism of DLECTRICITY bringing us together around art and light in the darkness takes on new meaning in 2021 – and we are elated,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “Yes, we face hard work for many months to come, but DLECTRICITY underscores the promise of safely rebuilding public life in public spaces as we bring the pandemic under control.”

Artists have also been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Curatorial Committee will soon close out the process of reviewing artist submissions received through its 2020 Open Call for DLECTRICITY.

“This past year, all arts organizations have been dealt a difficult blow. We’re truly inspired by how artists — innovators in their own right — continue to create amazing works of art,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president of Knight arts. “This includes the Cultural Center Planning Initiative and its focus on digital integration as they host a different, but equally promising, DLECTRICITY festival this year, creatively and safely finding a way to showcase these talented Detroit artists.”

With a safe visitor experience as the top priority, MDI is exploring the creation of more pedestrian plazas and the use of open spaces. The organization is working closely with health and safety experts, including the global public health organization NSF International, to develop public health and safety protocols for DLECTRICITY. MDI worked with NSF to safely reopen Cultural Center institutions in 2020.

“From the outset, the organizers of DLECTRICITY have made public health and safety the top priority,” said Paul Medeiros, Managing Director of Consulting & Technical Services at NSF International. “Our focus is on public health, but we know art is an essential part of the human experience. We also know art and public health can coexist with the proper planning and creative thinking, so we are honored to advise the festival organizers on COVID-19 safety protocols, regulations and best practices for mass events like this.”

DLECTRICITY is presented by DTE Foundation. Partners providing funding for the cultural initiative include the William Davidson Foundation, Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Detroit Institute of Arts, Midtown Detroit, Inc., and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sponsorships for DLECTRICITY are still available.

The 2021 DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee, including Detroit-based curators and arts and culture professionals, consists of:


Press Contacts:
Heather George, Lovio George, 248-417-5773, hgeorge@loviogeorge.com
Annmarie Borucki, Midtown Detroit, Inc., 313-420-6003, aborucki@midtowndetroitinc.org

About Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) is a nonprofit planning and development agency charged with revitalization of Detroit’s Woodward Corridor. Representing over 150 area stakeholders, including Detroit’s anchor educational, medical and cultural institutions, MDI provides public space maintenance and security services; marketing support; technical assistance; infrastructure and real estate development; small business support; grant administration; and arts programming for the district. Visit midtowndetroitinc.org for more info.

About the DTE Foundation
The DTE Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2019, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $18 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company’s service territories. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in communities across Michigan in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Visit DTEFoundation.com to learn more.

About the Cultural Center Planning Initiative (CCPI)
The Cultural Center Planning Initiative (CCPI) is a bold reimagining of the City of Detroit’s 83-acre anchor cultural district. Unifying landscape, architecture and technology, the CCPI design draws upon the strengths of Detroit’s cultural institutions to create a signature public destination. By developing a more sustainable physical environment and coordinating programmatic opportunities, we will be able to serve a much broader set of residents, artists and visitors.

The Cultural Center Planning Initiative (CCPI) design team, Agence Ter-Akoaki LLC, is an international collaborative of designers led jointly by Paris, France-based Agence Ter and Detroit-based Akoaki. Their project, Detroit Square, highlights the importance of shared cultural infrastructure for Detroit’s Cultural Center. rootoftwo is leading the masterplan for the creative/civic technology aspects of the initiative as part of the larger design team. A distinguished jury of national and local practitioners selected the design team in 2018 through an international competition that attracted 44 submissions from 10 countries and 22 cities.

By fall 2021 the design team will complete the conceptual design for Detroit Square – the culmination of CCPI’s initial 18-month planning phase. CCPI is guided by a steering committee comprised of cultural district leaders, and project management support is provided by Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Visit culturalcenterplanninginitiative.com for more info.