DETROIT (Aug. 8, 2022) — Two phases of the highly anticipated Motown Museum expansion are now complete and a star-studded celebration was held Monday, Aug. 8, boosted by attendance from distinguished Motown alumni, donors and honorable dignitaries. The celebratory event marked the grand opening of Hitsville NEXT, the new educational programming and creative hub, and the newly established Rocket Plaza, thanks to a $5 million contribution from Rocket Companies and the Gilbert Family Foundation.
“The vision for this ambitious project that was first announced in 2016—and that so many generous and committed supporters have contributed to—is now a reality,” said Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry. “Not only are we back—but we are back, bigger and better than ever.”
Highlighted by energetic musical and spoken word performances, Terry was joined Monday for the grand opening of Hitsville NEXT and the Rocket Plaza by Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, as well as Matt Rizik of Rocket Companies.
“Rocket Companies and the Gilbert Family Foundation are dedicated to making philanthropic investments that build a strong social and economic foundation for all Detroiters,” said Rizik, Chief Tax Officer at Rock Holdings. “The history of Motown is inextricably linked with the history and legacy of Detroit, and we are proud to support the expansion of the Motown Museum. This expansion will both celebrate our history and will be a strong foundation for the next generation of musicians, entrepreneurs and proud Detroiters.”
The festivities of the evening were highlighted by commentary from iconic Motown stars including Otis Williams, an original founding member of The Temptations who gifted microphones to the museum from his personal collection, and Smokey Robinson, who spoke about the importance of inspiration as an artist and why the expansion—and specifically Hitsville NEXT—is so meaningful because of the significance of inspiring emerging artists in the place where the Motown legacy was built. Fellow Motown alumni Duke Fakir, Shelly Berger and Martha Reeves were also in attendance to lend additional starpower to the celebration.