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Public Art in Detroit

Detroit, the Motown City, never runs out of public art. It’s everywhere. In every corner. In every street. I’m not talking about the ubiquitous graffiti the city is known for nowadays. I’m talking about these real public art that had been there even before the city lost its “Motor City” glory that led to the filing of bankruptcy on July 18 this year.

From Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, I was supposed to join a guided tour by Pure Detroit at 2pm. But since the bus there is the most unreliable in the world, I arrived downtown at 2:45pm. So, I decided to explore the public art in Detroit.

I walked two and a half hour around downtown to see all these public art work. Armed with a book map I borrowed from the hostel, I braved the scorching sun with two short stops in parkettes to spread ph30 on my skin.

Seeing all these art works around Detroit (Beads Museum, Heidelberg Project, Graffiti everywhere), it is evident that hardships / struggles make the citizens purge their creative juices to be heard, preserve their city—and perhaps, to prove to naysayers that their city isn’t dead. Their creativity, I suspect, will make their city known again. This time, in a good way. :))

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Read: Things to do in Detroit

Here’s the HAND OF GOD that created the man.

Public Arts in Detroit Hands of God

by Carl Milles
at Saint Antoine Street at Gratiot Avenue, right in front of Frank Murphy Hall of Justice / Public Art in Detroit.

The imagery of WOODWARD MONUMENT’s panels symbolizes music, art, performance, design and architecture.

by Eric Ernsberger Downtown detroit at Woodward roundabout

by Eric Ernsberger
Downtown detroit at Woodward roundabout. / Public Art in Detroit.

The abstract images in this MONROE MONUMENT refers to research, technology, manufacturing and transport.

Public Art in Detroit

by Eric Ernstberger
Downtown Detroit at Woodward roundabout / Public Art in Detroit.

This “WHALING WALL” (sounds like the Wailing Walls of Jerusalem) calls the attention to the beauty and endangered future of creatures under the sea.

Public Art in Detroit Whale Tower

by Robert Wyland
at David Broderick Tower (Woodward Avenue and Witherell Street) / Public Art in Detroit

“This whole piece (URBAN STEEL) is like an Italian Opera,” says the artist. You pull the curtain and the story unfolds”

Public Art in Detroit

by Segio de Giusti
at East Lafayette Boulevard at Beaubien Street / Public Art in Detroit

Walk around this steel cylinder of (DANCING HANDS) and the appearance of the piece will change 360 times.

Public Art in Detroit

by Robert Sestok
at East Lafayette Boulevard at Beaubien Street / Public Art in Detroit.

TRANSCENDING is a tribute to the history, principles and spirit of the labor movement.

Public Art in Detroit by David Barr West jefferson Avenue at Woodward Avenue

by David Barr
West jefferson Avenue at Woodward Avenue / Public Art in Detroit

This is the hand of Joe Louis, the hand that’s determined, vigorous, and full of fighting spirit—the same traits of Detroit and the country he represented.

Public Art in Detroit Memorial to Joe Louis

Memorial to Joe Louis by Robert Graham
Woodward and Jefferson Avenues / Public Art in Detroit.

They gaze at the country across the river—and that’s Canada…..

Detroit Public Art

by Ed Dwight
Woodward and Jefferson Avenues
(the city across the river is Windsor, Canada)

…to free themselves from the shackles of slavery.

by Ed Dwight Woodward and Jefferson Avenues (the city across the river is Windsor, Canada)

by Ed Dwight
Woodward and Jefferson Avenues (the city across the river is Windsor, Canada)

“I want to make a new fountain, a fountain that represents our times and our relationship to the outer space,” says the artist of this memorial.

Detroit Public Art

by Isamu Noguchi
at Woodward and Jefferson Avenues

Here, you see numerous aspects of human excitement–joy, compassion and tragedy.

Detroit Public Art

by John Nick Pappas
at 600 East Lafayette Boulevard

The art at People’s Mover (aka Light Rail Transit) is a joy to see.

Detroit Subway art

Every light rail stop is decorated with colorful murals. This is one of them.

This little car I saw in front of a parking garage deserves a second look.

Detroit Public Art

Mosaic Car? / Public Art in Detroit

This is the bell that rang this millennium.

by Matthew Blake and Christopher Turner at Woodward Avenue and east Adam Street

by Matthew Blake and Christopher Turner
at Woodward Avenue and east Adam Street

The SPIRIT OF DETROIT is the city’s most renowned public art of all.

Detroit Public Art

by Marshall Fredericks
at Coleman A Young Municipal Center (Jefferson and Woodward Avenues)

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One Response to “Public Art in Detroit”

  1. Mindy
    October 9, 2013 at 1:34 PM #

    I love that little car! It’s awesome work!

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