The Scarab Club

Scarab Club Detroit

Scarab Club Detroit, photo by Vasenka Photography

The Scarab Club explains that:

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 consisted of automotive designers, advertising illustrators, graphic artists, photographers, architects, and automobile company owners. 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.

The energy of the Club continues to the present day, hosting events like the costumed Scarab Club balls, art lectures & openings, live music and more. Read on at scarabclub.org where you can check out some of their photos of the building and the artwork and a great timeline of the club. I dug up an old video of one of their costumed balls that was themed “Inferno” that’s pretty cool.

Check out Vasenka’s photo background bigtacular and jump into his slideshow for more great shots from this cultural treasure.

More art on Michigan in Pictures.

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