Mashawanta Armstrong

Mashawnta Armstrong, a graduate of Cass Tech and of the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, spoke on our panel at C.A.I.D. Mashawnta will soon launch the inaugural issue of the Detroit based and focused MASH Magazine with attention to the intersections of fashion, beauty, design and the city. Some of the insights Mashawnta brings as a designer and as an entrepreneur include making the conceptual connections between manicuring ones' nails and manicuring ones' lawn--both with points of personal pride. She contextualized her interests in the project and its contents in relationship to the early 20th century City Beautiful Movement , and in considering the myriad forms of creative work in the city from architecture to hair styling and the importance for Detroiters to have an active voice in the design of their environment.

There were a couple of questions from the audience -- one from an amazing articulate and poised 12 year old girl, and one from an artist/recent Cranbrook grad that centered around understanding oneself in the face of difference. Mashawnta's warm and thoughtful response based in part on her own experience as being an often solitary African-American woman in Architecture school enabled us all to consider the times when each of us has understood the potential loneliness of being the one and only, and the strengths of resolve needed in order to flourish creatively in spite of perceived differences.

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