The Scarab Club was founded in 1907 by a group of artists and art lovers who enjoyed meeting regularly to discuss art and socialize. The desire to form an arts organization in Detroit during the first third of the 20th century was partially intertwined with the birth of automotive design and the evolution of advertising art inspired by the burgeoning automobile industry. Although generally viewed as a heavily industrial city, Detroit’s artistic community thrived from the success of the automobile.
Many of the original founding members of the Scarab Club were Detroit’s leading painters and sculptors. Scarab Club members inspired each others’ artistic spirit by entering their artwork in the Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists held at the Detroit Institute of Arts under the auspices of the Scarab Club from 1911 to 1928 and the DIA from 1929 to 1974.
The club’s themed costumed balls, which began in 1917, were a significant social event in Detroit. Life Magazine covered the 1937 Ball featuring a two-page photo spread. The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press published two pages of photogravures of costumed guests beginning in 1917.
Besides hosting various events, such as the costumed Scarab Club balls for members and others to attract the general public, the Scarab Club managed working artist studios that still continue today. Since its founding in 1907, the Scarab Club continues to be a driving force in the artistic community and is proud to serve Michigan as a cultural stimulant for artistic diversity in the 21st century.
The Scarab Club is an enduring home for the cultivation & celebration of the visual, literary and performing arts in Detroit. In welcoming all drawn to creative expression and artistic excellence, we aim to foster a stronger, more vibrant arts community.
Whether your interest is in the visual, musical, or literary arts, the Scarab Club has a variety of offerings that will energize and inspire you. Join us for an exhibition, concert, poetry reading and more.
Visual art can be discovered at the Scarab Club in many inspiring forms such as painting & drawing, photography, and new media. From gallery exhibitions (juried, invitational, and member) to community sketch sessions & workshops, the Scarab Club makes every effort to provide services for established and emerging artists as well as enthusiasts in the community.
Literary Arts has been an integral part of the Scarab Club for years dating back to its first-ever beam signatory, a poet named Vachael Lindsey, in 1928. Luminous words have decorated the organization through bulletins, beam signings, and even in a time capsule. (A poem by Gordon Damon, along with other items, was placed inside a time capsule sealed within the building brick.)
The Scarab Club hosts the Woodward Line Poetry Series. For fifteen years, Artistic Director James Hart has brought together local and nationally recognized poets for monthly readings.
What does a piano trio, a string quartet, a blue note and ballad have in common? The Scarab Club music series. Whether a classical music enthusiast or blues lover, the Scarab Club sponsors two distinct music programs that will captivate and delight you.
Established in 1998 by co-artistic directors and members, Nadine Deleury and Velda Kelly, Chamber Music at the Scarab Club has delighted the public with melodious works by inspiring composers such as Mozart and Gershwin while enjoyed in an intimate gallery setting. And if that’s not enough, after every performance, there is a patron reception allowing time to discuss the evening’s concert.
Prefer narrative ballads of the blues to classical? Then the Blues Heritage Concert Series is for you. Performed by celebrated local favorites, the Detroit Blues Society in conjunction with the Scarab Club brings Blues lovers mighty big music that will move your soul.
Live at the Scarab Club, launched in May 2017 with support from the Knight Arts Challenge, is a two-year series of concerts and educational workshops that incorporate live music, oral history, poetry and visual arts.