Collins new arts editor; Turner joins staff 

Lisa M. Collins has been named arts editor of Metro Times. Her staff-writing post will be assumed by Metro Times contributor Khary Kimani Turner, the publication’s management announced.

Collins, 30, has been a Metro Times staff writer for two years. She was named Young Journalist of the Year in 2002 by the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and was a finalist this year for the prestigious Livingston Award, a national competition for reporters younger than 35.

Collins is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied political science and art history. She worked at newspapers in South Carolina and for the Associated Press in New York City, Denver and Detroit before joining Metro Times.

“Lisa’s energy and journalistic abilities will serve her well as arts editor,” said Jeremy Voas, Metro Times’ editor. “The same prodigious newsgathering skills that allowed her to produce trenchant investigative journalism will be in play as she guides our arts and cultural coverage. She has great passion for journalism, for Detroit and for the spirit of creativity — you can see it in her work.”

“Artists bring beauty and meaning to a sometimes bleak existence,” Collins said. “I’m thrilled for the chance to document the creative minds that make Detroit an amazing place to live, to write about the innovators who thrive, to steal an old phrase, like wildflowers that pierce the asphalt.

“I’m approaching the arts section like an athlete after a long jog approaches a cupboard brimming with delicacies and processed foods — with a critical eye, and a mind open to endless possibility.”

Collins replaces George Tysh, who won numerous journalism awards while serving in the post for six years. Tysh stepped down to teach literature and creative writing at the Roeper School in Birmingham.

“George is a tough act to follow,” Voas said. “It will be difficult to replicate his intimate, institutional knowledge of Detroit’s arts scene and his understanding of the vital role that art plays in our lives. He’s a great writer whose editorial touch will be sorely missed.”

Tysh plans to continue to contribute to Metro Times.

Turner, 32, a frequent contributor to Metro Times’ music and arts sections, is one of Detroit’s most prominent writers and poets. His critically acclaimed book, Outta You: Early Selfloveactivism (Boneylife Press), and his band, Black Bottom Collective, have redefined the way poetry and music are presented to the public.

The Detroit native graduated in 1992 from Xavier University in Cincinnati, where he studied journalism. He returned to Detroit and served on board of the local branch of the NAACP from 1994-2000, a tenure that saw him found and coordinate the organization’s Hip-Hop Summit, which evolved this year into the largest in the history of hip-hop culture, including such participants as Russell Simmons, Eminem, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Nas. He won the Detroit Def Poetry Competition for HBO in 1998, recorded a poetry commercial for Jeep, and appeared on VH1’s “Ultimate Albums: The Marshall Mathers LP.”

He leaves a post as communications program manager at United Way Community Services to join the Metro Times staff.

“Khary’s knowledge of the community, its culture and the challenges it faces will enhance our coverage,” Voas said. “He’s a gifted storyteller. We’re extremely pleased to have him on board to do full-time what he does best: write.”

Turner said, “Detroit’s a piece of coal, but I’m intrigued by the diamond I see it becoming. That’s all a diamond is, anyway — a piece of coal that sticks to its job. In my writing, I want to encourage the town to become a diamond. You do that by striving to write the truth.”

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