Cristiana Sheppard-Decius Talks about ARTWN on Art Design Show

Cristiana Sheppard-Decius Talks about ARTWN on Art Design Show

(C. Proxmire, Oct. 31, 2012)

Earlier this summer Downtown Development Authority Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius did a half-hour long interview with John Sauvé of Art Design, a regional public access show out of Bloomfield Township.  The interview has made its way to the township’s Vimeo site at

In the interview, Sheppard-Decius talks about her twelve years as Executive Director of the DDA, and about their most visible project of 2012 – ARTWN.

ARTWN did two main things for the Downtown area.  First it provided an opportunity to catalog and highlight existing artworks in the community. Second it brought in new public art, and all the benefits that come along with it.

“Art is economic development,” Sheppard-Decius said.  “It draws people into town.  It keeps people in town and keeps them engaged and wanting to be a part of Downtown Ferndale.”

It’s also about building on Ferndale’s identity as a creative place to live, work and visit.  “We need to make sure we are getting the word out that there were have this creative community in place because of all the people that are here and doing work and living here and really just enjoying life for the most part living in Ferndale.”  She talked about the art benches from Cranbrook that were donated years ago, the Inside Out project brought in by the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the murals that have been done both publicly and privately.

She also talked about her dozen-year experience with the DDA.  Sheppard-Decius moved to Ferndale in 1994, when the downtown was more like a ghost town.  “The Downtown at that time was pretty bleak,” she said.  “We liked the town though..We liked some of the new things that were starting to crop up so we thought let’s give it a whirl and we were like let’s stay here.”  Six months later she got the DDA job, and her attachment to the community was set.

Though there can be frustrations, Sheppard-Decuis loves her job.  “Every day there is something rewarding that you are doing,” she said.

To listen to the entire interview, check out Art Design at  Host John Sauvé is also one of the artists featured in the ARTWN project.

Check out some of our other art stories at:



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