Award-winning national and international correspondent and community building experts to speak at Wayne State University


“Beauty: in Unexpected Places” is the title of the September Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum.

Can beauty be used as a catalyst for urban revitalization? The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum at Wayne State University will pair a nationally renowned author, public art specialist and creative entrepreneur with existing and emerging community leaders to explore this very idea.

The series of events takes place September 9-10. It is highlighted by a public lecture and panel discussion with three national experts, who will share their experiences using the principles of beauty and creativity to enrich communities.

Speakers include author of The Geography of Bliss and Man Seeks God, Eric Weiner; ArtWorks Cincinnati’s Executive Director Tamara Harkavy; and Alison Cross, Founder of the Atlanta-based BoxCar Grocer.

Leading up to the lecture on September 9-10, Little Things Lab, a local problem-solving studio, will host a two-day workshop for students and emerging Detroit leadership at the Lincoln Street Art Park. This fast-paced workshop will ask participants to imagine, develop and implement creative ways to enhance the aesthetic qualities of Detroit’s urban fabric. Participants will work with local artists to implement urban interventions in the Lincoln Street Sculpture Garden. Teams will endeavor to compliment and add value to the space while addressing site-specific challenges.

The public lecture and panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10, in Wayne State’s Community Arts Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP at

Additional details and speaker bios are available at

The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum is being presented by Wayne State University, with support from: Hudson-Webber Foundation, D:hive, Model D Media, DPTV and Recycle Here.

About Richard C. Van Dusen: Richard C. Van Dusen had a lifetime concern for and commitment to urban communities, particularly metropolitan Detroit. His life was characterized by distinguished public service in national, state and local affairs. He served as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and chaired the Detroit Regional Chamber. Van Dusen served as a distinguished governor of Wayne State University. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he spent his professional legal career at the Detroit law firm of Dickinson, Wright PLLC. Van Dusen’s life reflected his belief that the private sector as much as the public sector could provide leadership and implement initiatives to enhance the quality of urban life.

About The Woodward Spine

The Woodward Spine was the brainchild of Michael Fossano and Jeffrey Buck, two Royal Oak, Mich. natives who met nearly 10 years ago while attending the now-defunct George A. Dondero High School. It seemed fitting for the two Wayne State University alums to craft an outlet to help continually refine their writing skills, while also serving as a trusted source of information for the metro Detroit community. The Woodward Spine aims to inform its readers about relevant news and events through creative and informative posts not only by Mike and Jeff, but other upstanding citizens as well who are driven and proficient in these core areas: news, opinion, entertainment, history, sports and development. The Woodward Spine serves the tri-county metro Detroit area, however concentrating mainly on the communities that lie along the Woodward corridor.
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