But the diminutive, soft-spoken, but determined 38-year-old artist who has created a museum to house a permanent collection of art by young Detroiters, came here by way of
You can see her 15-year journey in her museum and gallery, the city's newest, the
The first floor of the seven-room, 2,600-square foot house hosts the public space: a parlor turned art shop bursting with color, reds, yellows, purples and a mix of scarves, earrings and other finds; a mix of exhibit and performance space; a pop-up cafe in the back and a kids' center where Rock hosts children's art camps. The second-floor flat is home for Rock, her husband, Joshua, and their four children, Arise,
"Converting our building was the only way I could do" the museum, Rock said in an interview. "I love it. My kids love it, and that's why we're always up and down. They have an art museum in their living room.
Their joy was evident during the one-year anniversary celebration at Live Coal in April. As patrons came in to see the exhibit, the children mingled and greeted guests. Those guests passed through a shop featuring everything from earrings to soap. Next is the main exhibit space, along with smaller private spaces, all filled with local, fantastic art.
Among the first exhibitors at Live Coal was
"I've known Yvette a long time and when she told me that she was going to start this venture and how multifaceted it was, I was really pleased," said Snowden, a
Snowden -- a nationally recognized painter who is among more than 50 artists participating in the
Live Coal is
Live Coal has brought life to a street that once held vacant buildings and death -- literally. Before the gallery opened, the single anchor of the 5000 block of Trumbull was a funeral home, a prominent funeral home, but a funeral home just the same.
Rock explains the name of her space like this: "When a coal is set ablaze, it can burn brightly. However, if it remains by itself, it cools quickly and will not reach its full potential or purpose. When burning coals come together, the heat generated is immense. Burning coals power whole cities. They have the potential to completely alter their environment -- it is heated coal under pressure that produces one of Earth's hardest materials and most precious gems.
How she got started
Rock was born in Suriname,
"I remember being 7 and 8 making art and loving it," she said. "And my parents fostered it."
She recalled being bused once a week to special art classes.
Now, she said, "drawing occurs every single day in our household."
Rock and her family moved to the U.S. when she was 7, where she graduated from the
"I told him, 'If I don't get a full scholarship, I won't do it,' " she recalled. "The
She took a Greyhound bus in 1997 to
In 1999, she did.
She was among the design professionals and graduate students that the
"That ? introduced me to the city," she said. "It opened my eyes to a whole other place in
Rock also began working with the
She soon moved to
She said she quickly realized that
"My husband and I were just talking about where we're supposed to be," she said. "And it always comes back to 'This is where we're supposed to be.' I say it many times: You are where your home is, and this is where our home is.
" I have this personal prayer that I don't ever want to be somewhere where I get too comfortable, where I'm not going to grow as a person ... where I don't have opportunities to be creative or allow the environment to be a catalyst for creativity. I find all those things in this city."
A creative vibe
Rock said she has found a collective spirit in
Rock has featured new artists every six to eight weeks since Live Coal opened a year ago. She chooses them based on their body of work and history. She also offers first-time exhibits for aspiring artists. But mostly, she said, she chooses "what I want to represent me and my knowledge of art."
She plans to rotate exhibits by veteran artists and aspiring artists who specialize in collage, drawing, mixed media, painting and photography.
She also wants to increase the number of children's workshops she hosts in the space designed just for young people.
"I'm big on making the space family-friendly," Rock said. "We just had 10 kids in the Kidspace, and we're doing it again."
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