Vacant Lots

Presented by Billy Mark, Bill Harris, Marion Hayden, Arise Rock, and CDC


A sound map story in the North End / Piety Hill neighborhoods. In the same way that you can pin a location to a google map, there are apps that allow you to pin audio files to create a “sound map”. With an app and headphones, the listener will walk from audio pin to audio pin as they listen to a place-based narrative accompanied by site-specific music and field recordings. One story will be about young people coming of age in the North End in 1954. The other story is of young people coming of age in Piety Hill in the present day. Divided by Woodward and 65 years, Vacant Lots is two stories...and yet one. 



About the Artist

Billy Mark is a multi-disciplinary poet whose has worked in poetry, composition, theater, and performance art. He attended California Institute of the Arts, and has received awards like the Los Angeles Black Music Award for Best Spoken Word, and the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowship in Literary Arts.

Bill Harris is a Wayne State University Emeritus Professor of English. He is a creative writer and arts critic. He formerly served as artistic coordinator at both JazzMobile and the New Federal Theatre in New York, and was Chief Curator at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. His plays have received over a hundred productions nationwide. Stories About the Old Days starred jazz singer Abbey Lincoln. Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone starred S. Ephata Merkerson and Denzel Washington. He has published books of plays: Riffs & Coda, and Stories About The Old Days; poetry, the Ringmaster’s Array, and Yardbird Suite: Side One: 1920-1940 A Biopoem; and reappraisals of American history Birth of a Notion or The Half Ain’t Never Been Told: A Narrative Account with Entertaining Passages of the State of Minstrelsy and of American & the True Relation Thereof, and Booker T. & Them: A Blues. A short story collection, I Got To Keep Moving was published by Wayne State University Press in the fall of 2018. In 2011 he received the Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award.

Marion Hayden - Born in Detroit, MI, Marion is one of the nation’s finest proponents of the acoustic bass. Steeped in the jazz tradition and mentored by Detroit’s jazz royalty- trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianist/composer Kenn Cox and saxophonists Wendell Harrison, Donald Walden and Charles Gabriel. She has performed with such luminaries as Geri Allen, Bobby McFerrin, Regina Carter, Steve Turre and Nancy Wilson and is co-founder of the groundbreaking women-led jazz ensemble, Straight Ahead. As an artist, Hayden works in the areas of jazz and creative improvisation,informed by the black music traditions of gospel, blues and R&B. Her compositions are narrative driven and include work on the poet Phyllis Wheatley, the biblical book of Ruth and a Solo Bass Score for “Eulogy for Detroit 1967” by poet Melba Joyce Boyd. Hayden received a 2018 Knight Arts Foundation Grant to encourage young women as jazz artists. She holds teaching positions at Univ. of Michigan, Oakland Univ., Michigan State Univ. Community Music School and the Detroit International Jazz Fest. In 2016 she received the Kresge Artist Fellowship in Music.

Arise Rock is a freshmen attending Detroit School of the Arts, (DSA). She majors in theater at the school, and is a member of the Thespian Honors Society. Rock is also the author of The Trail to Home, a free verse novel that she self-published. She also writes fiction and fantasy novels. Rock attended the National Conference of Artists summer arts program, and her work was exhibited and sold at both that show and Live Coal Gallery. Rock has also directed her own show, based off of the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton.’ Rock lives in Detroit with her parents and three siblings.