Open Letter to the Public

Early this year, it came to our attention that the individual who originally arranged the agreement with Southwest Solutions, Aaron Timlin, has met with his contact at Southwest Solutions, Steven Gabrys.  After their meeting, Mr. Timlin informed us (Whitdel Arts) that he would be taking over the Whitdel gallery and programming.

Whitdel Arts has become its own non-profit corporation with rights to the name Whitdel Arts and has been operating without the involvement of Aaron Timlin in the space at 1250 Hubbard for over four years.  While there is a dispute between Aaron Timlin and the board of the CAID, which used to have Whitdel Arts as a division, this dispute is separate from Whitdel Arts.

We have requested meetings with several contacts at Southwest Solutions, unfortunately to no avail.  In March, Whitdel Arts received notice from Mr. Gabrys that Southwest Solutions has decided to terminate all lease agreements for Whitdel Arts and the current staff at Ladybug.  Ladybug officers and staff (Soh, Julie, Susannah, etc) were not informed by Southwest Solutions of this decision.  Part of his message states, “It has become too difficult to determine what is going on with the art space and the community mission is being lost.”

We whole-heartedly disagree.  The community mission was never lost.  Despite the dispute involving the CAID and Mr. Timlin, both Whitdel Arts and Ladybug Studios have offered consistent programming, working with both artists in exhibitions and families in drop-in workshops.  The programming is a clear indication of what is happening in each space.  Whitdel Arts has taken steps to become its own non-profit organization.  The termination of the lease agreements will keep Whitdel and Ladybug from continuing to fulfill their missions.

Ultimately, it is up to Southwest Solutions whether or not to continue our current lease agreements. However, we do not understand how a decision to let go of two valuable organizations can be made without any face-to-face conversation with the people who run the programming.  It is a sad and heart-breaking decision – not just for us and Ladybug, but also for artists and the community.

Help us show Southwest Solutions the positive impact Whitdel Arts and Ladybug Studios has in the community through Tweets, emails, letters – any way you want your voice to be heard!  Reach out and tell them your experience with the gallery. We hope to have your continued support.

Whitdel Board & Staff

Write your own message, feel free to use any of these, or add on to them if you like:

Email (we think this would make the most impact!)
tthorland@swsol.org – Timothy Thorland, Executive Director of Southwest Housing Solutions

Dear Mr. Thorland,

I am writing in support of Whitdel Arts.  I heard Southwest Solutions decided to end their lease agreement with Whitdel Arts.  They have had a positive impact on artists and the community, and the decision to let them go would be detrimental.  Please let Whitdel Arts continue their work!

Sincerely,

Twitter: @SWSolDetroit The staff at @whitdelarts and Ladybug Studios are awesome. Keep them in our community!

Facebook: Southwest Housing Solutions The staff at Whitdel Arts and Ladybug Studios are awesome. Keep them in our community!  We don’t want to see them go!

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