Partners in Phase I

The Boulevard House benefited from participation with a number of partners from the community and University of Michigan.  Below is a summary of people involved with the initial formation of the Boulevard House.

Key Development Partners (2010-2015)

The Community of Detroit and Southwest! Many members assisted Boulevard House with its endeavors, and we look forward to new and continuing relationships.

Maria Cotera, PhD, Associate Professor in UM Department of American Culture and Department of Women’s Studies. Cotera was the galvanizing force behind El Museo del Norte. Intentionally interdisciplinary in her research, her areas of interest include US third world feminist thought, American modernism, cultural anthropology and comparative race and gender analysis. Please view more on her background on her Wiki page.

Elena Herrada, MA, is a Detroit community activist leader and Director of the Oral History project of Fronteras Norteñas. Her research into Repatriation of local Detroit Chicano families was foundational for an El Museo exhibit, and she continues to pursue this research through grant application.

Nick Tobier, MFA, Associate Professor in UM School of Art & Design. In his current research and teaching, Tobier focuses on the integration of art and society, with an interest in the potential of public places and performances on the stage and in the streets. This reflects his belief in the power of social dynamism and the fundamental role of artist as catalyst and conduit in this relationship. He is the author of critical and speculative writings on city space, itinerant entertainment, and forms of public entertainment as radical social strategy.

Michael (Mick) Kennedy, BFA, MArch is a Lecturer in the UM Taubman Department of Architecture and continues to practice as an architect and general contractor in his native state of Texas. Kennedy was an instrumental part of preparing the Boulevard House for El Museo’s exhibits.

Charlie Michaels, MFA, is the Site Coordinator for UM’s School of Art & Design Detroit Connections Project. Michaels was an instrumental part of preparing the Boulevard House for El Museo’s exhibits.

Tom Cervenak, LMSW, MA was the Executive Director of People’s Community Services from 1975-2015. PCS provides comprehensive social services in neighborhoods throughout Detroit.

UM Students have contributed along the way with Wiki pages, Facebook and all initial web profiles.

Core Program Leadership

Larry Gant  (2010-2015), LMSW, PhD, program director, is a professor at University of Michigan’s School of Social Work and School of Art & Design. His research focuses on neighborhood based responses to health disparities and social economic challenges in post-industrial cities in the United States and urban metropolitan areas.

Gant has a strong interest in the role of the arts in the community and in the classroom. He has created and piloted a program in Beijing that uses visual and performing arts to access HIV/AIDS education. He is working to leverage the School of Social Work’s art collection as a teaching tool, and to restructure vacated library space into a dynamic creative work environment where visual arts will play a key role. Another strand of research includes the use of visual and performance arts based settlement house programs to create indigenous creative classes of residents for community capacity development.

Gant’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous national and international private foundations. His research has been based in southeastern Michigan cities and communities; the states of Illinois, California, and Ohio; and internationally in Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, and China. He is also a member of the SSW Community Organization Learning Community.

Other areas of research/scholarly interest: community organization and social planning; public health social work; regional food systems; community supported agriculture; arts-based community development.

  • PhD (Social Work and Social Psychology), University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • MA (Psychology), University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • MSW (Social Work), University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • BS (Psychology), University of Notre Dame

Marlena Hanlon  (2014-2015), program manager and curator, blends decades of professional expertise in private and public sectors into high performing social projects. For example, as Deputy VP with PMI’s San Francisco-Bay Area Chapter, she developed a comprehensive green chapter and sustainability program: a strategic assemblage and application drawn from components which Hanlon had developed over the years, it comprised an innovative program within the project management community.

A non-traditional project manager, she began as a corporate anthropologist, analyzing the alignment of corporate culture with organizational strategy. In a natural evolution, she began implementing the system solutions and process changes which she recommended and developed. This analyst-through-design-to-implementation brought an unusual breadth of functional management experience. To this end, Hanlon holds professional certifications in project management, human resources, fraud examination, sustainability, education, real estate, mortgage lending, law, and several human services modalities. She has led project teams across industries, from construction to IT.

Hanlon became active in the sustainability community over a decade ago and has participated on a long list of community development boards, leading projects in the areas of water harvesting, permaculture, greenway design and sustainable infrastructure. She additionally was a construction project manager for a green incremental developer, including SFR, commercial and multi-family properties. Certified in Permaculture Design, Hanlon is most interested in creating alliances among “green” NPOs, public entities and professional organizations such as PMI to cross-pollinate skills, project opportunities and applied solutions to local development of the commons.

She holds magna cum laude Bachelor degrees in Cultural Anthropology (French) and Comparative World Religions (History), and a post-bac MLS (Law) equivalent. Hanlon holds dual master’s degrees in Social Work and Urban Planning, with an emphasis on global urbanization and social equity issues.

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