Outside art Shan Sutherland's "Wall of Water" is one of a few recent projects by local artists some Cranbrook students, some not that are spreading throughout the city. Sutherland is also currently involved in building a series of bus-stop benches for the city of Ferndale with some of his fellow students, Yuji Hsiao, John Truex, Matt Alexander, Aaron Blendowski, Jada Schumacker, Mike Flynn and Patrick Casey, along with Jack Williamson, director of Design Michigan, and Tom Barwin, city manager for Ferndale. Last year, Cranbrook architecture student Matt Miller built "Free Public Heat," a heat-capturing metal bed made from scrap steel. For two months during winter 2004-2005, his sculpture was installed at Gratiot, St. Aubin and Vernor Highway, where it was laid over the city's manhole covers to capture waste steam and redirect it, providing a warm respite for citizens. Currently, Miller is busily working on his thesis building a low-income house. In the past few months, an anonymous cadre of artists calling themselves the DDD crew (an acronym for Detroit Disneyland Demolition) has been working on "Object Orange," a project in which the artists seek out the city's decrepit abandoned homes and, in the middle of the night, paint the facades bright orange in an attempt to force the city's hand in demolishing the structures. It seems to have worked in a few cases, although the city refuses to comment. It's trespassing, and it is dangerous in such unsound structures, but the results are astonishingly beautiful. The buildings they've targeted are located in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck, and several are visible from the highways. There is a cluster of more than a few to spot on the right side of the Davison Freeway heading west, near the Linwood Avenue exit, and there's one to see on the left-hand side when traveling north of I-75 leaving the city. Rebecca Mazzei is Metro Times arts editor. Send comments to email@example.com
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