Mayor Mike Duggan congratulated this year’s ACE Honors Medal Recipients in a ceremony at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters

Mayor Mike Duggan congratulated this year’s ACE Honors Medal Recipients in a ceremony at the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters.  

  • During the event, Mayor Duggan spoke on the importance of creative arts in the workforce and community. The awards salute lifetime achievement and celebrate artists and arts patrons who have contributed 25 years or more of exceptional service to Detroit arts and culture. 


ACE honors 2022


The awards ceremony was followed by the inaugural City State of the Arts address by Director of Arts and Culture Rochelle Riley. During the address, she laid out a vision to sustain Detroit’s creative workforce, which includes fine and performing artists that are among the best in the country. She also gave a salute to the Kresge Foundation and City Historian Jamon Jordan. 



The ACE awards are modeled after the Kennedy Center Honors. The honorees received a Medal of Excellence as part of the first class of ACE Honorees. The recipients include three Kresge Eminent Artists, selected for excellence in the visual, performing, or literary arts. They are the late Charles McGee, the late David DiChiera, and Shirley Woodson. The honorees in the inaugural ACE class are:

Board member of the Detroit Historical Society, Motown Museum, Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Michigan Opera Theatre. 

Founder of Michigan Opera Theatre (Detroit Opera); recipient of the Opera Honors Award by the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in opera.

Considered to be the first African American artist to gain international recognition and proclaimed by the American media as “the best landscape painter in the West.”

Fine portrait painter and muralist known for public commissions; founded the Contemporary Studio with Charles McGee, Harold Neal and Henri Umbaji King.

Neo-expressionist artist and creator of the internationally renowned Heidelberg Project; Kresge Visual Arts Fellow (2009).

Co-chair of the first Classical Roots Celebration, an annual concert sponsored by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra recognizing African American contributions to classical music.

Portrait artist and sculptor known for works featuring President John F. Kennedy, Rosa Parks and Aretha Franklin; first woman to be admitted to the prestigious Cranbrook Art Academy.

Prolific painter and sculptor; founder of the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit; advised the State of Michigan, City of Detroit on cultural initiatives; first Kresge Eminent Artist (2008).

Master architectural ornamental metal and design artist, engineer and craftsman; inventor of the Detroit Windmill; founder of C.A.N. Art Handworks, an ornamental architectural metals studio.

The City of Detroit’s first Poet Laureate; called “the Father of the Black Poetry Movement”; founder of Broadside Press.

Philanthropist and leading patron of the Detroit Jazz Festival and Wayne State University’s jazz program; founder of Grammy Award-winning Mack Avenue Records;  owner of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.

Longtime Director of the City of Detroit’s Cultural Affairs Department; helped orchestrate art for the Detroit Tricentennial Celebration, including the International Memorial to the Underground Railroad.

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Detroit-Windsor Dance Academy; choreographer for more than 50 ballets; director of more than 100 dance concerts; Kresge Arts Fellow (2020).

Iconic painter known for large-scale figurative work featured in the Detroit Institute of Arts; co-founder of the Michigan Chapter of the National Conference of Artists; Kresge Eminent Artist (2021).

JAMON JORDAN, the first official CITY OF DETROIT HISTORIAN, an honorary position given to an individual who has a demonstrated knowledge of Detroit’s cultural history.


ACE honors Photo 4- 2022

Each year, the ACE Awards will salute philanthropy, which has elevated and sustained Detroit arts and culture for decades. Our first recipient is the Kresge Foundation, which since 2008, has awarded more than $6.7 million through Kresge Arts in Detroit's Kresge Eminent Artist Awards, Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Awards.