CriticCar Detroit is a mobile arts journalism venture centered in Detroit, Michigan. Created by journalist Jennifer Conlin and produced by Artrain, CriticCar traverses the city, stopping by arts and cultural experiences ranging from concerts at the Filmore to dance performances in lofts to gallery walks and bookbinding classes. The 3-4 person team films short interviews with audience members and creatives, using an iPad to record their reviews of the performance or event they just experienced. The videos are edited and uploaded to Youtube within 24-48 hours so that the participant, venue—anyone—can share and learn about Detroit’s arts and cultural scene. Select videos are also featured on Detroit Public Television’s weekly Detroit Performs series.
CriticCar was started in 2012 with a National Endowment for the Arts and Knight Foundation Community Arts Journalism Challenge grant. Concerned that “space and thought dedicated to arts criticism is shrinking in all traditional news publications. These media sources no longer…provide sufficient dialogue on the local arts scene that is the cornerstone of the economic revival of cities such as Detroit,” the idea of CriticCar was born. CriticCar strives to enliven arts journalism and infuse cultural criticism with excitement by inviting citizen critics—from first-timers to experts—to express their views on cultural events in Detroit.