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Dabls African Bead Museum in Detroit Avoids Demolition, For Now, After Appeal Accepted by City

Photo: Andrew Mullin ~ 760 WJR

DETROIT, July 9, 2024 ~ A Detroit cultural landmark avoided demolition Tuesday morning, though activists said the fight is not over to save it.

The Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum is composed of a shop, museum, and art gallery located at 6559 Grand River Ave., with a building planned for a major museum expansion slated for an emergency demolition by the city due to concerns over the partially-collapsed structure. However, a last-minute appeal canceled the demolition, with about two dozen protestors against the demolition celebrating the move Tuesday outside the museum.

(CONTINUED) The site, run and founded by artist Olayami Dabls, was created about 30 years ago to showcase art, African beadwork, and African languages, drawing visitors from around the globe. He has plans to renovate a building on the site to expand the museum, though they have been delayed in recent years following the COVID-19 pandemic. While the city has concerns over the building’s structural status, Detroit African Community Development Corporation co-founder Bryce Detroit said there has been a plan to redevelop the building since 2017 and Dabls was working towards renovating the building.

It’s not a neglect story. This is a development story, a grassroots development story,” Detroit said.

Dabls will attend an appeals hearing in front of the Detroit Department of Hearings at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. He and activists are asking people to donate to the museum’s GoFundMe.

Artist Olayami Dabls, founder of the Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum, talks to supporters on July 9, 2024 outside of the museum in Detroit. Photo: Andrew Mullin ~ 760 WJR