Detroit’s Murals in the Market festival returns with scaled-down version

The Eastern Market mural festival is back after two years off due to the pandemic

click to enlarge A mural from the 2017 Murals in the Market festival. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
A mural from the 2017 Murals in the Market festival.

After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, Detroit’s Murals in the Market festival returns to Eastern Market this week — although organizers 1XRun announced Monday that this year’s fest will be a scaled-down version of the one they launched in 2015.

This year’s festival will largely concentrate on just two sets of murals, 1xRun says. One will be dedicated to Eastern Market’s farmers — including Brother Nature, Rutino Vargas, Jentzen Farms, Bucu Farms, and Lake Divide Farms — located on the south and east elevations of Shed 5.

The other set will be dedicated to Eastern Market’s makers — including Lush Yummies Pie Co., brunch spot Sunday’s Best Detroit, jam makers Gus & Grey, and Milk & Froth ice cream — and will be installed on the west and north elevations of the Metro Accelerator building at 1420 Adelaide St.

The organizers say a few additional murals will also be installed, including one dedicated to soil fertility on a wall south of Wilkins Street, facing Orleans Street. The mural on the east elevation of the building on the northwest corner of Russell and Adelaide streets will also be repainted.

The festival, named one of the top 5 mural festivals in the world by Smithsonian magazine in 2018, had featured both local and internationally acclaimed artists. This year’s lineup features all Detroit artists, including Phil Simpson, Sabrina Nelson, Freddy Diaz, Ashley McFadden, Anthony Lee, Ed Irmen, Jesse Kassel, and Sheefy McFly.

Even before the pandemic, 1XRun had indicated that the feature of the festival was uncertain, citing the changing nature of the district under developer Sanford Nelson, as well as the fact that a a three-year grant for the festival from the Knight Foundation ran out in 2019.

The 2019 edition of the Murals in the Market festival included the addition of sculptural work, with an emphasis on art that honored the nature of character of Eastern Market.

“We thought it was important to find a permanent representation of people that had been in the market for years,” festival founder Jesse Corey told us. “When we started curating [the festival], we weren’t really sure if these people would be here any longer. So it was our way of taking some people that have spent a lot of time in the market and giving them some more permanency...”

You can catch the 2022 Murals in the Market muralists at work from 6-11 p.m. during the Eastern Market After Dark event on Thursday.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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