designer / artist



My ideas for the Packard Plant in Detroit

Packard swan 1948My proposal honors the past while creating new symbols for the future. It draws on the world’s most advanced models for supporting new ways of working, entrepreneurship and innovation.


Packard_PLAN_AUG 2015


Packard 2APACKARD PLANT PANELS_final crop2

BELOW, the ghost of an assembly line that once flowed across this bridge is etched in back-lit glass.  The new bridge retains the original Packard logo and keystone. It adds a Shinola clock and creates a new symbol for the site from an oversized 1948 hood ornament.

Packard swan_sm_right

Packard bridge+ghosts

–Sharon VanderKaay



Look Around. Diagnose Your Habitat!

My amateur video asks every citizen to look around and ask themselves, “How healthy is this place?”


TORONTO: How healthy?

Behold my entry for Spacing magazine’s Public Space Invaders film night. The evening of short films about Toronto and urban issues took place on Nov 26.

Interview with The Bongo Man


Nahru Lampkin talks about teaching kids robotics and his hopes for education in Detroit

Detroit Style!!

Google”Detroit Style”…multiple references to “Detroit-style bankruptcy” or “Detroit-style pizza” will appear.

Here is my effort to redefine the meaning of Detroit Style:

What I See in the D

A song I co-wrote with Nahru Lampkin about my birthplace Detroit:

My poem about Detroit

This poem is about the natural strengths of my birthplace. One hundred years ago, Detroit was the hub of world-changing ideas. People applied ingenuity and practical thinking to achieve big dreams. Over time, this human energy and spirit was starved by segregation, civil rights abuses, adversarial relationships between management and labor, plus the mind-numbing, physically exhausting effects of brutal assembly line work.

In post-industrial Detroit, sparks of human ingenuity are being reignited. The Motor City is evolving towards The Human City…”Makin’ dreams happen.”


Yeah, we got an epic story,
Now’s the time for new glory,
Makin’ things happen,
Makin’ it in Detroit.

We got the funk,
We got the spunk,
We got the heart, we got the art,
Talkin’ ’bout Detroit.

Home to heroes, mavericks, contrarians,
Nobody’s boring, even librarians.
Say you dine on raccoon carrion?
Not gonna point, call you barbarian.

Fertile ground fuels wild imagination,
Can’t beat our determination,
To be the number one destination,
Humanest City in the nation.

Rising up from the driving machines,
Now see every human being,
Makin’ dreams happen,
Makin’ it in Detroit.

Hands on, heads on, get ‘er done,
Makin’ it in Maker Town.

We got character that can’t be broken,
When destructive words are spoken.

Welcome to the capital of persistence,
Say goodbye to your beige existence.

We got the funk, we got the spunk,
We got the heart, we got the art.

Not tryin’ to be all pretty,
Like an airbrushed city,
Grit keepin’ it real,
Ignites that spirit you feel.

Urban fields, a quirky pace,
Soon be needin’ extra space,
Buildin’ for a humane race,
There’s no place like this place.

Sugar pie honey bunch,
We make it out of every crunch,
Soon eat other city’s lunch,
Got a secret in our punch.

They try to destroy it,
But soul saves Detroit,
Abuse, starve, deny it,
Can’t stop this giant.

Street smarts, car parts,
False starts, tough darts,
The D?…Listen to Smokey:
You really got a hold on me.

-Sharon VanderKaay





Spring Forward

svk art Ap2013_3bAcrylic on canvas 30″ x 24″

svk art on paper Ap2013_6Acrylic on paper 16″ x 12″

Winter Escape

Cheerful or What

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