Ingrid LaFleur is a curator, arts advocate and Detroit native dedicated to creating a sustainable, healthy and ever-inventing city. In 2017, she announced her candidacy for mayor of Detroit.
As a mayoral candidate, LaFleur is committed to putting the interests and progress of Detroiters first. Growing up in Detroit LaFleur was instilled with a sense of pride in Detroit by her father, who believed in raising his family within the borders of the city, where his own parents had settled as part of the Great Migration. LaFleur's early life was profoundly shaped by the high-quality public school education she received at Bates Academy and Renaissance High School.
In 2010, after traveling the globe and working in the world of contemporary art for over a decade, LaFleur returned to live in Detroit. From 2013 to 2015 she served as a substitute teacher at local charter schools, confronting harsh realities like children living in homes without clean running water, overcrowded classrooms and high rates of illiteracy. It was a life and career-changing experience that has sparked her drive to ensure every child in Detroit is cared for and has access to basic necessities.
In 2013, LaFleur presented a talk at TEDxDetroit entitled, “Detroit - A City of Superheroes,” in which she shared how her experiences as an educator strengthened her commitment to the vision of Detroit as a global city and center of experimentation, and leader in innovation and design. In the same year, she founded AFROTOPIA, a creative research project that works to heal and inspire Detroit residents through the arts movement and cultural aesthetic Afrofuturism. Among the many manifestations of AFROTOPIA is the book club which promotes literacy while strengthening the imagination by reading speculative fiction.
As a dedicated arts advocate, LaFleur is a founding member of the advocacy group Detroit Culture Council (DCC), which has the mission of creating a cultural affairs department in Detroit that is inclusive of the creative industry. Ingrid LaFleur believes in the talent and skills embedded in the fabric of Detroit and works to create spaces to let those talents grow. She serves as board chair of Power House Productions, board member of the Cooley Reuse Project and advisory board member of Culture Lab Detroit. LaFleur is a recipient of the 2013 and 2015 Knight Arts Challenge award.
LaFleur believes in the imagination as a practical tool for community advancement. “We all have the capacity to co-create the future we want,” she's said. “We can continue to manifest, and build, all in the service of one another.”