“I want to be the face I was looking for growing up,” says Tiffany Brown, an architect born and raised on Detroit’s west side – and a winner of the 2017 Detroit Knight Arts Challenge.
The Detroit mom won a $50,000 grant for “Art and Architecture: Changing Our Cities Through Our Youth.” Its mission? Getting inner-city kids interested in architecture by introducing them to architects who came from backgrounds like theirs.
That’s what made the difference for Brown: An architect from Lawrence Technological University spoke to her class in 12th grade.
“I never knew (it) was an option,” says Brown, now also an LTU adjunct professor. In her program, “kids will learn about what it takes to create a livable, functioning city. There’s urban planning, architecture and interior design.”
She’s also angling to get more African-American women licensed as architects with workshops, summer camps, scholarships and support for girls in kindergarten through college.
Brown hopes to roll out the program in spring, once she finds a matching grant donor. Meanwhile, she’s focused on a smaller audience – her 6-year-old daughter.
“She knows the importance of art and science,” she says. “I can’t say I knew those things at 6 years old.”
Tiffany Brown also co-founded Urban Arts Collective, aimed at increasing minorities in STEAM fields. More at urbanartscollective.org.