Painted places 

Outdoor art is easily ignored. It has no precise exhibition times, no galleries and no promotion. Even so, some local artists make it their project to decorate the city. Some are well known, but more are anonymous.

Their work dramatically transforms simple and boring street scenes into colorful and impressive galleries. Some murals occupy huge walls or buildings. Others are concealed in corners only a few people know about. Below are some, all located in Detroit, that are worth a visit.

You can spend time looking at murals, but participation is also welcomed. Many arts organizations have programs to teach people how to create their own outdoor art works. For more community arts information, contact Inner City Voices and Visions at 313-832-0286.


. St. Anne and Bagley
Two impressive murals with strong Mexican style and colors, painted by local artists Vito Valdez and James Puntigam, are located at this corner. One mural, a neighborhood revitalization project, honors Native Americans and is painted "In the spirit of the Indigenous people who cultivated the land that was once theirs."

The other is more closely related to Detroit and shows automobile workers, a Detroit city view, and a mysterious tree, temple and mummy to connect ancient and modern history.

Appoline and James Couzens
Named the "Dream Wall," this mural is on the wall of the Martin Luther King Education Center. Again, it was painted by muralist Curtis Lewis and shows famous African-Americans.

Cadillac and Gratiot
On the wall of the old Operation Get Down building, a mural features important figures in African-American history. It was painted by local muralist Curtis Lewis.

St. Aubin and Lafayette
Under this downtown railroad bridge, a series of colorful subculture murals has been painted on the walls. To view them, you need to find a gap in the wire fence, walk through some trees and slide down a precipitous ramp. It takes time, but the cool murals - ignore the desecration - and relatively silent environment are worth it. A series of murals with similar styles occupy several walls under the bridge near the crossroad of St. Aubin and Lafayette.

West Vernor in Mexicantown
Friends of people killed in the city painted murals to memorialize them. This mural features angels, a vision of paradise, masks of comedy and tragedy, and the names of people whose friends will never forget.

More murals

. West McNichols & Schaefer
This mural, painted by Curtis Lewis and depicting an Egyptian king and queen, has a mysterious aura.

. Oakfield & West McNichols
A Curtis Lewis homage to African-American jazz performers, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis, is on the side of Comfort Zone Jazz Club.

. Outside of Los Galanes Restaurant on Bagley
This huge mural is a Freedom House project. It shows people from different countries wearing traditional clothes and waving national flags. They hold hands on a large bridge under the motto "Diversity is our strength."

. West Warren and 23rd
People still remember Malice Green, who died after being assaulted by Detroit police officers. This memorial to him is encircled by flowers.

. Central and Pershing
This corner presents many varied murals on a long wall. Some are cute and entertaining. Some declare the importance of peace. Others express anger.

. Cobo Center parking structure
To enliven the structure's gray walls, the Detroit Cultural Affairs Department and the parking authority commissioned 10 murals. They were painted by Vito Valdez, James Puntigam and students from Detroit's southwest side.

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April 14, 2021

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