News, People

Mural walk brings metro Detroiters together

Detroiters seem to love public art.  It crops up in expected places like Hart Plaza, Grand Circus Park and on Belle Isle.  Our city adorns the Spirit of Detroit statue each time one of our sports teams wins a championship.  Each stop on the People Mover has some unique work of art, either sculpture or tile mosaic.  We have public art throughout our city.

Public art also crops up in unexpected places.  Having lived in the city for the past decade, I’ve run across several things off the beaten path.  After a guy named Mike Han (known as @streetculture on Twitter) posted some great photos of a mural on West Grand Blvd., discussion ensued about doing a tour of Detroit’s murals.

I have a bias toward action, so when people started to dismiss the idea or suggest the familiar places, I decided to organize my own photo walk.  We called it #PhotoWalkDetroit, even though we did ride in cars to hit a few of the murals with the idea of taking photographs of whatever struck us at each stop.  A few intrepid souls joined me in going off the beaten path for photos and the city surprised us all.

The gray, overcast day made a great backdrop for doing photography.  We checked out the mural leading to the historic Woodbridge neighborhood.  My neighbor had a mural painted on his building a few months ago by Marianne Audrey Burrows, who was in the midst of painting at Recycle Here when we stopped by.  There was the walk along the train tracks behind the building that revealed stunning views of the Fisher Building.

We hit Tech Town, nestled between Wayne State University’s main campus and the New Center area.  A community partnership helped create art in the middle of a growing business incubator space.  A short trek took us to the Northend mural where Mike took the pictures that sparked this tour.

We ended at Los Galanes for lunch and then a walk across the new pedestrian bridge that straddles I-75 and reconnects Mexicantown.

Saturday was remarkable for a few reasons.  Everyone who went saw something new and expressed it differently.  It is amazing to see the same mural and pick up the nuances in each piece based on each photographers different angles and perspectives.  It was also great to see people enjoy the city in a way they did not expect.  I know I saw new things, enjoyed different sights, connected with new people and experienced my city in a whole new way.

My collaborators did a great job capturing our journey that day.  To change your perspective on art in Detroit, I highly encourage you to check out these people and the pictures they took:

What I enjoyed most about the day was the idea that seven people could come together and develop a brand new appreciation for Detroit, without intervention from any official group.  We came in willingly and left as friends with a cool common experience.  I am looking forward to doing this again soon!

Photo credit: Angela Watts, used with permission.

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