Herman Jenkins believes in the importance of presenting Detroit’s rich history through art.
That’s why the Detroit native initiated The Gathering Detroit in 2012. A multipurpose gathering center in Detroit’s historic Indian Village, The Gathering gives local and national artists a communal place where they can display their work. It is comprised of three art galleries, two resident artist workshops and a resale shop.
“With these galleries, we can embrace everything that is new and changing without ignoring or taking for granted what has already been here,” said Jenkins, who co-owns The Gathering Detroit with friend and chef, Clinton Moore.
Newfound entrepreneur Jenkins comes from a more traditional career path. Following his graduation from the University of Detroit Mercy, he went to work for the Detroit Tigers in communications and public relations. He eventually became manager of the strategic development team that designed the layout of the Tigers’ new stadium, Comerica Park.
After six years, Jenkins was restless for change. He wanted to tap into his passion for video arts, so he left the Tigers to try his hand at video production.
Together with Moore, they launched Ghetto Gourmet. “We were shooting a TV pilot where a chef would show up and surprise people with a culinary treat and we would air it as a webcast.” The webcasts morphed into a new initiative when Jenkins joined with partner Barbara Wynder to develop The Collective, the building that houses The Gathering Detroit’s art galleries.
“The main purpose of The Gathering is to have an outward impact on the community through the arts,” said Jenkins. “We’re really excited to change the dynamic of pedestrian traffic on Jefferson Avenue.”
The Gathering hosts outdoor events that display artists’ work at Owen Park and at the corner of Gratiot and St. Aubin. “These sites attract people from The Jeffersonian and Alden Towers,” said Jenkins. “People that wouldn’t normally visit this area are coming out to experience the art.”
The Gathering Detroit promotes an array of artistic styles from painting and sculpting to musicians and spoken-word poets. All art and artists showcased are helping tell the story of Detroit in a positive light. “The city is rich with history and it’s important that we embrace it,” he said.
In addition, The Gathering’s home is also Moore’s medium for displaying his culinary expertise. He hosts a weekly Sunday brunch in the artist’s space. He is also responsible for all catering and menu planning for events.
Jenkins’ vision for The Gathering is to put Indian Village on the map as a historic and artistic destination in Detroit. “We really want this to become a hub for the arts and culture in the villages.”
Jenkins understands the struggles of the rookie entrepreneur and adds that you can’t be afraid of the unknown. “Nothing is promised on the first and fifteenth so every day is a hustle,” he said. Knowing the obstacles of a small-business owner, Jenkins offers low-cost real estate options within The Collective for other aspiring entrepreneurs trying to find their own within the city. “It’s a place for new artists to cut their teeth and break into the marketplace,” he said.
The Gathering is located in the Old Hamilton House, which was built in 1901.