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rochelle riley

Rochelle Riley is a self-proclaimed writer by trade, warrior by necessity, who spent a quarter century challenging, encouraging and informing during a long-time career as an award-winning newspaper columnist. Now, she guides the City of Detroit’s investment in the arts as Director of Arts and Culture. She is overseeing transformative change across a city that is soaring through travails that might have leveled someplace else. Her office, the Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship, is documenting all the city’s murals on the Detroit Mural Map and is transforming nine neighborhood alleys into community gathering spaces. She also is working tirelessly to promote Detroit’s creative workforce, one of the best in the nation. She says that treating artists like the businesses they are is the best way to embolden a new generation of artists to see the creative arts as a career. Rochelle also is writing her third book and will soon visit her 29th country.

Latest News and Updates

Detroit Public Schools to present free Evening of Fine Arts celebration

The best and brightest students of the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) will take center stage at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday during the district's 55th annual Evening of Fine Arts. The free, 6 p.m. concert will feature performances by the district’s top instrumental music ensembles, vocal music ensembles, dance companies, and theater excerpts. In addition, the district’s top visual artists will display their work in the Fox Theatre’s Grand Lobby. “It is impossible not to have goosebumps while watching our students perform at this event,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, district superintendent. “We are grateful for the support we have received as a district to bring back this event to the Fox Theatre. It means so much to our students and their teachers and families. If you did not attend the event last year, you need to attend this year. The performances match any professional concert.”

Jessica Care Moore. Photo by Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press

Detroit’s new poet laureate, Jessica Care Moore, vows to celebrate, promote

Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday announced the city's new poet laureate, who will be responsible for composing poems for special events and occasions in Detroit. Jessica Care Moore, founder and producer of Black WOMEN Rock! and founder of The Moore Art House, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in Detroit, will take on the role. Moore's identifiable voice was behind the "Move the World" campaign, a video used to make a pitch for an Amazon headquarters in Detroit.

Detroit Poet Laureate Jessica Care Moore.

Jessica Care Moore named poet laureate: ‘An authentic voice of Detroit

The City of Detroit has named its newest poet laureate: Jessica Care Moore – a Detroiter through a through. The city's stories course through her veins; her heart beats in verse.  "I am living proof that imagination rooted in our city's rich soil can take you all over the world and back," Moore said during a press conference on Tuesday. Moore will organize and spearhead events focused on poetry throughout the city, deliver a yearly speech at the Detroit Public Library, engage in ...

Author announces major photo exhibit to celebrate African American greatness in history

In honor of Black History Month All Year, Church Street Media is inviting parents to help their children become icons for a new exhibit featuring selected photos of children embodying the spirit of Black heroes. The exhibit was inspired by “That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed The World” by Rochelle Riley, featuring photographs by Cristi Smith-Jones.

Parents and teachers are encouraged to share with their children and students the history of the African Americans they choose, African Americans that all children should know. Then they are invited to help their children dress as these icons and be photographed for a major exhibit in Detroit.

“If we want to change the way America deals with race, we must teach all children all of American history.” – Rochelle Riley

Send photos shot in black and white – and the photo that served as a model – and a letter granting permission for the photo to be included in a public exhibit – to:

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Deadline is September 1, 2022

Please enjoy the National Reading of Excerpts from “The Burden”

Please enjoy the National Reading of Excerpts from “The Burden” celebrating the paperback edition of the book. Presented Nov. 17, 2020 with a 40-second opening that allowed audiences to enter. Get your copy where books are sold.

Welcome to the digital home of force of nature, author, essayist and arts advocate Rochelle Riley. She spent nearly a quarter century as a columnist when she left the Detroit Free Press in 2019 to become Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit. But Rochelle remains a writer by trade, warrior by necessity. She is at work completing her first novel and her third book on race.

Letters To Black Girls

“Black girls are under constant attack from racism and sexism. But they can survive. Better: They can thrive. Black women can help girls be healthy and whole if we approach them with love, honesty and vulnerability. There is no more powerful ally for a black girl than a former black girl.”