Spirit Renewal

At the northwest corner of the grounds of the University of Michigan’s
Horace Rackham Educational Building near the intersection of
Farnsworth and John R in Detroit’s Cultural Center


Charles McGee, born in South Carolina in 1924, moved to Detroit ten years later.  During World War II, he served in the Marines.  Subsequently, he became interested in art, and in the late 1968, studied art in Barcelona.  He returned to Detroit and became a leader in a black artists movement. He opened his own gallery and taught art in the city.  Gradually, his work became well known in the city and he served on several boards promoting public art.  His works are on display at the Broadway station of the People Mover in downtown Detroit, at the Detroit Institute of Art, at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal and at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

The sculptor was in his late 80s when he designed the attractive and fanciful piece that you see pictured above.  The abstract but highly animated dancing figures reflect a joie de vie that characterizes many of his works.  It is a very enjoyable sculpture to view and well set on the well-kept lawn of the Rackham Building.

Charles McGee was the first winner of the Kresge Eminent Artist Award in 2008.  That program is now administered by the College for Creative Studies and honors Detroit-area artists.  I believe that the Kresge Foundation sponsored the 2010 publication of a monograph describing the works and accomplishments of this artists, but I have not been able to locate it.

Sculptor: Charles McGee
Date of Installation: April 6, 2011
Material: Aluminum pieces
Photograph:  Ren Farley; July 28, 2011
Description Prepared:  August, 2011

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