About Matthew Piper

Matthew Piper works at the Green Garage, helping to grow, connect, and support the business-in-residence community there. He's also a freelance writer and editor. On the El Moore project, he's serving as a creative editor and occasional author.

A closer look at Cass Corridor artist Robert Sestok

This month, Essay'd, a writing project I'm part of that publishes short, illustrated essays about contemporary Detroit artists, takes a look at the work of Robert Sestok, the longtime Cass Corridor artist whose one-year-old sculpture park is located just a stone's throw from the El Moore. The author of the essay is Dennis Nawrocki, a seasoned professor of art history at both Wayne State and the College for Creative Studies, as well as an old friend of Sestok's and a deeply-rooted participant in the Detroit art scene. (He's been writing about Cass Corridor art, in particular, since the early '80s.) "Rarely," his new essay begins, "does one get to see a full bore display of an artist’s oeuvre, all at once and all in one place." He continues: Robert Sestok counts as the standout … [Read more...]

Where life is art!

No trip to Detroit would be complete without a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts, our beloved historic art museum. The DIA's encyclopedic collection is one of the country's best, and its commitment to accessibility and art education makes it a true people's institution. The DIA is in walking distance of the El Moore, and we certainly encourage our guests to pay it a visit. But art enthusiasts and culture seekers will be interested to know that there are a number of smaller museums, galleries, and other art spaces that are as close, or closer, and that are also definitely worth checking out. (The official slogan of Midtown Detroit, after all, is "Where Life is Art.") And while the DIA's collection includes some notable work by Detroit artists, these smaller spaces … [Read more...]

Why old places matter

We were delighted to welcome Tom Mayes as a guest to the El Moore Lodge this week. Tom is a historic preservationist from Washington, D.C. and is visiting Detroit to speak at the annual Michigan Historic Preservation Network conference, taking place at Wayne State. Tom's talk was called "Why Old Places Matter: Community, Creativity, and Economics," and is based on an extensive series of related blog posts he wrote between 2013 and 2015. Being fond of old places ourselves, we thought we'd share some of Tom's thoughts on the subject. We couldn't agree more when he writes in his introductory post, "The notion that old places matter is not primarily about the past. It is about why old places matter to people today and for the future. It is about why old places are critical to … [Read more...]

“Rooftop Retreat” in Hour Detroit

We're so grateful to have received a terrific write-up in Hour Detroit last week! Steve Wilke, the article's author and editor of Hour, stayed with us a few times in the course of writing the article, and his attention to detail shows. We think he did a great job capturing the breadth and spirit of the project. The beautiful accompanying photos are by our friend Marvin Shaouni. Pick up the magazine's current issue to take a look or check out the web version here. … [Read more...]

Walk on, El Moore!

Last year around this time, as construction was wrapping up on the El Moore, Kimberly Williamson and I wrote a four-post series on walkability in this blog. We considered how walkable life at the El Moore would be, looked at the broad benefits of walkable neighborhoods, explored walkability in Detroit more generally, and wrapped up with a reflection on how residents are the heart of sustainable, walkable neighborhoods. A lot has happened in the year since. The El Moore's first wave of residents moved in in July, and just a few months later, we saw the opening of the Lodge, which continues to welcome more and more guests from around the region and world. Today, both residents and guests alike are enjoying the benefits of life in our walkable district, running errands, … [Read more...]

“El Moore Lodge creates north Michigan escape five stories up in Detroit”

We're delighted to share a new article about the El Moore Lodge published this week in MLive! "It's big-city living and a small town escape inside the Moonbeam Cabin, one of the four cabin rooms at the El Moore Lodge in Detroit's Cass Corridor neighborhood," begins Ian Thibodeau's article, a thorough and thoughtful treatment of our triple bottom line business. Read the whole thing here. … [Read more...]

“In Detroit, Cheap Eats, D.I.Y. Art and the Charm of Locals”

Last week, the travel section of the New York Times ran this "two days in Detroit" feature that includes mention of the El Moore (among other neighborhood things we love, like the Dally in the Alley and Robert Sestok's new sculpture park). The Grey Lady concisely describes us as a "gorgeous 1898 building recently reopened as sustainable, community-oriented apartment building [that] will soon house a hostel." How about that? … [Read more...]

Robert Sestok’s City Sculpture park opens this weekend

Big news out of the Cass Corridor this week: noted artist and longtime resident Robert Sestok is opening City Sculpture, his new sculpture park, on Friday night -- and it's located just a stone's throw from the El Moore. Bob knows a thing or two about the Cass Corridor (as Keith Owens discovered when he profiled him in this blog last winter). The 68 year old Detroit artist has lived and worked in the neighborhood since 1967, when he moved into the old convention hall that once stretched from Woodward to Cass between Canfield and Prentis. He moved all around the neighborhood after that, living and working with a number of the artists retrospectively associated with the Cass Corridor art movement, until he bought and renovated a house near 4th and Alexandrine in 1982. He has lived … [Read more...]