Brick + Beam Detroit is a community for property owners, tradespeople, and building rehabbers of all levels. We support rehabilitation and reinvestment in Detroit by sharing knowledge, building talent, and providing access to the resources needed to keep projects moving forward. Brick + Beam's forum connects people interested in rehabbing and reinvesting in Detroit’s buildings with hands-on skills, local tradespeople, resources, advice, and overall moral support needed to get repair projects started -- and to keep them going.
Brick + Beam is a proud 2015 Knight Cities Challenge winner and is made possible by support from the Knight Foundation and Quicken Loans Community Fund. The project is a collaboration among the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, Detroit Future City, and Preservation Detroit, represented and currently led by Executive Director Alissa Shelton with the support of Brick + Beam's original cofounders.
Executive Director- Alissa Shelton
Alissa is excited about rehab and fixer-upper homes as an opportunity to bring more people into property ownership. Alissa was most recently the Director of Training for Incremental Development Alliance, a national nonprofit focused on citizen-led real estate development, where she worked on national workshop and training series. She's been a familiar face at Brick + Beam Detroit community events and hosted our first-ever hands-on window workshop a few years ago at Bank Suey, a 1920s bank building-turned-Chop Suey restaurant-turned-community space that she owns and has rehabbed with her family. She and her partner are stewards of a 100+-year-old Hamtramck duplex, which they rent out, and are in the process of fixing up a 1923 bungalow, where they live. Alissa is a Licensed Builder in the state of Michigan, a 2017 Salzburg Global Fellow (Young Cultural Innovator seminar), and holds a BSc. in Psychology from Wayne State University.
Program Assistant- Rosie DeSantis
Rosie is a theater-maker & producer, poet, youth theater facilitator, event curator and east side native. Their professional debut as a playwright and director, the audience-involved game theater piece Letters in the Dirt, earned them a spot on No Proscenium’s 2018 list of 25 Immersive Companies & Creators to Watch in New York, and was nominated for three awards by the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation. Their poetry has been featured in a number of local, national, and international publications, including Rabbit Catastrophe Press as a 2017 finalist in the Real Good Poem competition. Now back home from New York, they are a Winter 2020 poetry fellow of Room Project, founder of the seasonal house show series Bill's Back Room, a DIY house party dedicated to the promotion of anti-capitalist imagination & local Black musicians. They are the founder of the Detroit Scene Study Collective, a community formed for local actors & writers of color to workshop their work. If you're part of an intentionally grassroots initiative in Detroit, please consider asking them about their cooperative economic infrastructure survey & mapping project by emailing them at [email protected]!
Amy Elliott Bragg is a writer, editor and history lover. For Atlas Obscura, Detroit's Model D, and on her own blog (link:nighttraintodetroit.com) and newsletter, she has explored how Detroit became a city of trees, the origins of cremation in the United States, why Michigan is on Eastern Time and mapped the burial sites of suffragists in Michigan and across the nation (link:visitasuffragist.com), the story of the woman who launched Detroit's historic preservation movement and why Michigan is on Eastern Time. She is past president of the board of directors of Preservation Detroit, the city's largest historic preservation advocacy organization. She received the Michigan Historic Preservation Network's Citizen Award in 2016, was honored as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2018 40 Under 40, and was a member of the 2016 cohort of the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. When she's not working at old books or old buildings, she is special projects editor for Crain's Detroit Business. She is a Beloit College graduate and lives in Ferndale, Michigan with her husband, son and rescue dog.
Emilie Evans a preservation planner with extensive experience working in legacy city communities as well as using data to help cities guide strategic reinvestment decisions. Emilie was a 2017-2019 Detroit Revitalization Fellow where she worked for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and prior to that was Director of the Rightsizing Cities Initiative with PlaceEconomics, a firm that measures the economic impacts of heritage preservation projects nationwide. She came to Detroit in 2013 to serve as Detroit Preservation Specialist working jointly for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which honored her with an American Express Aspire Award in 2015.
Prior to Detroit, Emilie lived in New York City where she worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and taught at her alma mater, Columbia University, from which she holds masters’ degrees in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning.
Emilie loves doing home repair projects, which she honed in her Boston Edison home in Detroit, and amassing more tools than she needs. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband, two boys, a sweet rescue pit bull, and two adopted cats.
Victoria Olivier currently lives in Baltimore ("Charm City") and enjoys discovering it with her two daughters, beagle and husband. By day, she works at the Maryland Department of Planning as the Central Maryland regional planner providing technical assistance and advancing the State's focus on "smart growth". Prior to moving in 2019, Victoria lived in Detroit where she was a 2013-2015 Detroit Revitalization Fellow at Detroit Future City (DFC). She remained at DFC for more than six years, ultimately serving as their Director of Land Use and Sustainability focusing on community-driven planning, and vacant land/vacant building transformation. Her other passion was co-founding and co-leading Brick+Beam Detroit and renovating her house in lovely Jefferson Chalmers.
Victoria began her career in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, first with the Preservation Resource Center and later with FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office as an historic preservation specialist and project manager implementing FEMA’s $1.8 billion school master plan. She received a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree in both urban and environmental planning and American studies from the University of Virginia.
Brick + Beam Detroit in the News
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