Dabl’s MBAD African Bead Museum

Good morning, jet setters and armchair explorers!

The third post in this three part series of art in Detroit lands us at a small building off of Grand River Ave. called DABL’S MBAD AFRICAN BEAD MUSEUM- 6559 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI.


I must admit, I was a little apprehensive when I got out of the car. So I did what I do when I am apprehensive: I migrated towards the area with no people.

Behind the building on the dead end street are some large, recycled art pieces.






The front of the building, the side facing Grand River Ave., is pictured below.


The photo doesn’t show it well, but many of those “spots” are shards to mirror glass. Some serious work went into these designs.

When I finally got up the gumption to go into the building, I was met by a man and a woman talking out on the sidewalk. The man turned to me and asked if I was looking to go inside. I apologized for interrupting the conversation.

“Not at all,” he said with a smile as he led me up to the door, “you’re the reason we’re here.”

Inside was a vast array of beads in glass jars and beaded necklaces.┬áThe man that led me in, named Dabls (hence the name of the museum/store, who’da thunk?), spent 18 years decorating the outside of the building and creating the yard art. This is mainly because, thanks to Michigan weather, there are only a few months out of the year that he can work on it.

His efforts are impressive. He is constantly adding to his sculptures, but usually spends the first month or so of cooperative weather refurbishing the old ones. Dabls laughed as he recalled how this causes people to think the refurbished art is all new and they praise him for getting so much created in a short amount of time, when much of it has simply been touched up.

All the beads and necklaces are created in Africa and many of the beads are very old. Dabls is hoping to raise the awareness of Africa’s material culture and make it accessible to those in the neighborhood.

I did not take any pictures inside. You need to go there and experience it yourself; you need to help support this man and his mission to bring diversified cultures and art into a city that is struggling.

I even got myself a pretty necklace out of the deal. See?


Until next time, dahlings…

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