Artist Ryan Mendoza to Salvage and Recreate Rosa Parks’ Detroit Home in Berlin

Ryan Mendoza planning on repurposing the facade of American icon Rosa Parks’ original Detroit home for use in his Berlin studio before an eventual presentation to an open audience.

Mendoza was approached by Rhea McCauley, Rosa Parks’ niece, after the home was jeopardized by the threat of demolition because of the struggles of Rosa Parks Foundation in finding funding to maintain it.

Rosa Park is a notable member of American history for her refusal to sit in the back portion of the bus in the 1955, she had also important collaborations with civil rights figureheads such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It goes without question, therefore, as to why salvaging the home, has significant relevance to the American people and the world alike. “Her memory, her legacy will never die,” Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley said.

Ryan Mendoza is known for his practice based in the subject of memory, but his involvement, however, doesn’t lack self-consciousness or self-criticism. “It should be somebody in the black community doing this, not a white guy. I’m not even from Detroit,” he said.

Yet, he is the only artist who has volunteered to at least partially salvage the home, so his role has become essential.

Mendoza recognizes the importance in preserving Park’s legacy: “Do I leave Rosa Parks’ house to be demolished by the city,” he said, “or do I step up and say ‘OK, I’m going to help (McCauley) preserve the memory and save this house?’ That’s what this project is all about.”