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Who am I and why am I doing this?

I am Lowell Boileau and I am a web artist. I use the website as a medium for artistic expression just as a painter uses paint and canvas. With the Lost Synagogues of Detroit, I am continuing in the vein of my most widely known works, The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit and SoulfulDetroit.com and from my background as an urban landscape painter.

During my wanderings in search of images for the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit website, I developed a fascination about the many former synagogues that I kept discovering along the way. Their clustering in the Dexter-Linwood-Davison area of Detroit, in particular, left indelible outlines of a once distinct neighborhood that typified Detroit in its days when it was composed of ethnic enclaves. Their ongoing existence as predominantly Afro American Christian Churches and their continued functioning as pillars of new community further sparked my interest.

What was their story, I wondered. How interesting that these noble structures would come to shelter the faith of two communities who, in common, have long histories of persecution.

So, I decided to gather images of them in a website, show them to the world, and solicit their stories. My aesthetic goal is to develop an audience-created artwork by adding accumulated memories to their pictures. What you see here is ongoing result of that effort.

My upbringing as a son of a Protestant minister has doubtlessly triggered some of the fascination with these shul-churches. From an early exposure to the Old Testament/Torah, I developed a life long interest in Judaica. In 1971, while returning from two years in the Peace Corps in Swaziland, Africa, I stopped off in Israel and ended up staying for three months. I traveled widely throughout Israel and Palestine including a insightful six week stay as a volunteer at Kibbutz Nachsholim on the Mediterranean Sea. When I returned to Detroit, I determined to be an artist and that decision has led up to this effort.

Now, come, travel with me on this voyage of discovery and join with me in creating telling this story. If you have any memories, facts, or stories of these structures as synagogue or church, share them! On each page you will notice a link at the top, SHARE MEMORIES, and this button bottom:
  
Click either one to read and share memories and pictures of the Lost Synagogues of Detroit.

Thank you, Lowell Boileau

Click HERE to view my fine art paintings.

Click HERE to read my creative resume.