Blair Theatre being refurbished as part of the Cass Community Commons Space

September 21, 2011
D. Blair

DETROIT – Renovations are underway and volunteers are being sought to help with the refurbishment of the D. Blair Grassroots Community Theatre inside the new Cass Corridor Community Commons Space of the First UU Church. Renovations are under the direction of Oya Amakisi of the Detroit Grassroots Community Arts Theatre and will include refinished floors, repainted walls and state of the art equipment among other improvements.
“The Detroit Grassroots Community Arts Collectives believes in the beauty, strength and love of Detroit,” said Amakisi whose organizations has been a long time host of the Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival. “We are invested in being a positive asset to our community.  Imagine our new space with refinished floors, the walls painted, a state of the art stage and more.  The multiple decks add an eclectic look that allows flexibility in an intimate setting.”
Members of the Cass Corridor Community Commons chose to rename the theatre in honor of David Blair, an internationally renown spoken word artist, musician and activist who passed away in August. The theatre has a flexible multilevel space that can easily meet the needs of the types of diverse community-based gatherings commons members envision using it for.
The theatre will also be home to the Detroit Liberation Library. The library was started during the United States Social Forum held in Detroit in June of 2010.  People from all over the United States donated books focused on social justice, cultural arts and more.  
The library will also include adult literacy training, tutoring and computers for research and job searches. Lecture series and book signings from up and coming progressive artists and activists will also take place. The library will also host the Detroit Intergenerational Classes featuring seasoned activists from the labor, civil rights, and black power movements.
D. Blair Grassroots Community Theatre Director Oya
Amakisi, upper left, oversees work party in August
The theater will have visual, literary and performing arts.  The Commons envisions experimental plays, film festivals/presentations, workshops, lecture series, concerts, community forums, fundraisers and more being held at the theatre once refurbishments are complete.  Some examples of long-standing events that will take place in the revamped space will be the Children’s Fun Film Saturday, the Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival, EMEAC’s annual Greenscreen and jam sessions featuring some of Detroit’s top blues, hip hop, jazz, spoken word, rock, soul and classical music artists.
Since the theatre hardly been used in recent years, Amakisi says there is much work to be done. Work parties are being planned in the coming months and volunteers are needed.
“We need volunteers for our Working Party,” she said. “We will clean and paint.  Volunteers will get delicious snacks.  At night we will have a party featuring some of the top deejays in Detroit.  All volunteers get in free.  We will sell fish, chicken and vegetarian dinners, but we need volunteers for renovations and clean up.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for Blair Theatre work parties should email