The 49507 Project is a POC-LGBTQ and youth-led project, rooted in collaboration, that teaches art and event organizing, and commissions community art for and by people of color in the 49507 neighborhood.

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Can Community Outreach Be Organic?

Can we use art to further activate neighbors, shift power dynamics in historically underserved areas, and more importantly, change the narrative?

The 49507 Project: Tony WHLGN- Location 4

Diatribe logo

The 49507 Project: Tony WHLGN- Location 4

Project 49507 is a POC-LGBTQ and youth-led project, rooted in collaboration, that teaches art and event organizing, and commissions community art for and by people of color in the 49507 neighborhood.

Can Community Outreach Be Organic?

Can we use art to further activate neighbors, shift power dynamics in historically underserved areas, and more importantly, change the narrative?

Can we plant seeds that will bloom into the south side becoming a Multicultural Arts District?

Tony WHLGN

Headshot of Tony WHLGN

Business Social Media/Website info

Instagram: @tonywhlgn

Twitter: @theWhlgn

Website: www.whlgn.com

detroit mural

picture of Joey Badass promotion by Tony Whlgn

About Tony WHLGN

Tony Whlgn is a visual artist from the eastside of Detroit, MI.

His Creative Journey began in 1997 when Tony learned that creativity was a family trait. Raised by a single mother who supported and nurtured the gifts given to her children, the lesson of doing what you’re passionate about planted a fruitful seed. Moving forward to becoming an ‘Art School Dropout,’ Tony relocated to Brooklyn, NY, and became a Junior Designer at Marc Ecko. Art Direction & Design for internationally recognized album artwork for music artists such as Joey Badass & Big K.R.I.T., held creative design positions at global fashion brands such as Kith N.Y.C. Moving to California and then back to Detroit, he began to create an array of commission artwork and community revitalization murals.

In 2009, with the help of close friends, the Whlgn® was created, an Unorthodox Art + Design Firm out of Detroit. Operating as a “Holistic Think Tank of Collective Creative Entrepreneur Studios.” The Whlgn® encourages the mantra “do what you love and love what you do” to
inspire and expose Creative Entrepreneurial careers; We, Humans, Love to Give & Nurture. The non-profit sector, Leaders Amongst Leaders (in partnership with The Skillman Foundation), kicked off its first program in 2018. Leaders Amongst Leaders Bridges the Youth of Detroit with Resources and the Opportunities necessary to pursue their passions and build their Net Worths. Broadening their understanding and Development around Financial Literacy & Sustainable Creative Entrepreneurship. The art collective houses professionals in photography, culinary arts, Carpentry, and SFX make-up application. The first graduates of the program (Leaders), both under the age of 20, are currently working in their Creative’ fields of choice as Business Owners.

“My Art is an Imitation of my Life And a reflection of those I’ve encountered; people & experience teach us who we are. Through natural self-expression, I want my Art to inspire engagement with self-knowledge and knowledge of the whole world, which, in a sense, is Self.

—  Whlgn®. TONEy.

Where you are from- 

Eastside of Detroit 

 Your ‘connection’ to Grand Rapids-

My Connection to Grand Rapids resides in the friends and creative work relationships that we’ve developed over the years. From our Homies at Carbon Stories creating sharable content to our friends at Motu Viget, Grand rapids may not be Detroit, but the friends we’ve made help us to familiarize it as home.  

 What the word “Liberation” and “Reclamation” mean to you-

Liberation & Reclaimation for me means that the natives that once inhabited the land now have the knowledge and resources that will reassert them in a position that provides secure generational access to that land for that community of people and their Offspring.

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Contact/Booking: info@thediatribe.org

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

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Site Design by KCAD students & faculty as part of the EPIC Project.

Our Grand Rapids Community Foundation logo
Spectrum Health Logo
Fair Housing Center of West Michigan logo
Weg Foundation logo
South Town Logo
Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs logo
Frey foundation logo
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Poetry foundation logo
Lowell Arts Logo
Steelcase Foundation logo
National Endowment for the Arts Logo
Garfeild Park Neighborhood Association logo