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Fisher Canyon
Fisher Canyon
Photography by Chris and Michelle Gerard

Here are 12 Reasons to Love Detroit's Public Art Scene

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Fisher Canyon
| Photography by Chris and Michelle Gerard


With Summer 2015 knocking on the door, it's time to get outside and drink in some of Detroit's most exciting public art. To that end, Curbed has assembled to-do list (map included!) of 12 destinations to kick off the season. Think of it as a something of a sampler platter, with points including the city's latest mega-murals alongside a few old favorites worth rediscovering.

· Public Art Across the Curbed Universe [Curbed National]

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1. Rise Up TIger

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6314 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48211

Just a few blocks from the spot Henry Ford invented the Model T, David "Meggs" Hooke painted this explosive tiger last November reminding Detroiters to "rise up against great odds." [Photo provided by Meggs]

2. Detroit Chimera

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1600 Clay Street
Detroit, MI 48211

Even if you've seen the massive Detroit Chimara mural in the past, there's a good chance it looks different today. Painted by Kobie Solomon, the mural has been slowly coming together since 2010, when it was first sketched out on the Russell Industrial Center. Said to be among Michigan's largest murals, the Chimara references all four professional sports teams in Detroit.

3. Fisher Canyon

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Once filled with trash and undergrowth, a brick alleyway next to the railroad racks is now a street art hotspot called Fisher Canyon. First unveiled in the 2013 Detroit Design Festival, the growing installation's unique sightline perfectly frames the distant Fisher Building. [Photo: Chris and Michelle Gerard]

4. The Heidelberg Project

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3600 Heidelberg St.
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 974-6894
Visit Website
promise to rebuild. Get reacquainted this summer.

5. HopCat Murals

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4265 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

HopCat Detroit's recent renovation of the old Agave building was a thing of beauty, but murals from five local artists are the icing on the cake. Grab a beer and drink in huge murals painted by Fel3000ft, Melo, Malt, Elmer and Kobie Solomon. [Photo: Chris and Michelle Gerard]

6. HENCE at the Madison

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1555 Broadway Street
Detroit, MI 48226

Painted by HENCE over the course of three weeks last fall, this colorful mural covers the entire southern face of the Madison Building. That's about 1,000 square feet.

7. Whale Tower

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10 Witherell Street
Detroit, MI 48226

If you're already at the Madison mural, there's no reason not to step around the corner for a glimpse of "Whale Tower." One of the 100 "Whaling Walls" painted across the world by Detroit native Robert Wyland, the mural was painted in 1997, when the Broderick Tower was still among America's tallest abandoned buildings. Wyland has offered to restore it, but the tower's ownership would rather allow the painting to fade away.

8. Farmer's Mural

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2448 Market Street
Detroit, MI 48207

The largest of several Alex Pollock murals commissioned by the city in the 1970s to help revive declining Eastern Market. It was painstakingly restored by a local artist last summer, so it's just as vibrant as the more recent street art that coats many buildings nearby. Definitely worth checking out.

9. Dodge Fountain

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Hart Plaza
Detroit, MI 48226

Disabled by vandals in 2013, this monument is now back in action. Everyone's seen photos of the Dodge Fountain, but it's an entirely different experience to visit in person. Suspended 30' in the air, its huge, stainless steel ring emits a misty spray that serves as the focal point of Hart Plaza. Designed by Isamu Noguchi and Walter Budd and installed in 1980, it's just a quick detour if walking the RiverWalk. [Photo: Mark Hall]

10. Grand River Creative Corridor

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Stretching for several blocks along Grand River Avenue, the GRCC is a neighborhood revitalization project featuring over 100 murals. After facing down the city's anti-graffiti task force last fall, the ever-evolving GRCC remains vibrant as ever. [Photo:GRCC/Facebook]

11. James Scott Memorial Fountain

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Fountain Way
Detroit, MI 48207

Memorial day is coming up, meaning the Scott Fountain will soon begin another summer of glorious gurgling. Designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in 1923, the massive fountain and its Pewabic tile are slowly being restored original splendor. Between the 150 cherry trees planted last fall and a selection of new vendors arriving on Belle Isle this summer, visiting the Scott is a no-brainer.

12. The Belt

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231 Gratiot Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

The alleyway running through the artsy Z-Lot now has a sizable mural collection of its own. Known as the Belt, the outdoor gallery/event space includes pieces from over a dozen artists, including Shepard Fairey. Organizers hope to add vendors and furniture over the summer.

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1. Rise Up TIger

6314 Russell Street, Detroit, MI 48211

Just a few blocks from the spot Henry Ford invented the Model T, David "Meggs" Hooke painted this explosive tiger last November reminding Detroiters to "rise up against great odds." [Photo provided by Meggs]

6314 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48211

2. Detroit Chimera

1600 Clay Street, Detroit, MI 48211

Even if you've seen the massive Detroit Chimara mural in the past, there's a good chance it looks different today. Painted by Kobie Solomon, the mural has been slowly coming together since 2010, when it was first sketched out on the Russell Industrial Center. Said to be among Michigan's largest murals, the Chimara references all four professional sports teams in Detroit.

1600 Clay Street
Detroit, MI 48211

3. Fisher Canyon

Detroit, MI

Once filled with trash and undergrowth, a brick alleyway next to the railroad racks is now a street art hotspot called Fisher Canyon. First unveiled in the 2013 Detroit Design Festival, the growing installation's unique sightline perfectly frames the distant Fisher Building. [Photo: Chris and Michelle Gerard]

4. The Heidelberg Project

3600 Heidelberg St., Detroit, MI 48207
promise to rebuild. Get reacquainted this summer.
3600 Heidelberg St.
Detroit, MI 48207

5. HopCat Murals

4265 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

HopCat Detroit's recent renovation of the old Agave building was a thing of beauty, but murals from five local artists are the icing on the cake. Grab a beer and drink in huge murals painted by Fel3000ft, Melo, Malt, Elmer and Kobie Solomon. [Photo: Chris and Michelle Gerard]

4265 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

6. HENCE at the Madison

1555 Broadway Street, Detroit, MI 48226

Painted by HENCE over the course of three weeks last fall, this colorful mural covers the entire southern face of the Madison Building. That's about 1,000 square feet.

1555 Broadway Street
Detroit, MI 48226

7. Whale Tower

10 Witherell Street, Detroit, MI 48226

If you're already at the Madison mural, there's no reason not to step around the corner for a glimpse of "Whale Tower." One of the 100 "Whaling Walls" painted across the world by Detroit native Robert Wyland, the mural was painted in 1997, when the Broderick Tower was still among America's tallest abandoned buildings. Wyland has offered to restore it, but the tower's ownership would rather allow the painting to fade away.

10 Witherell Street
Detroit, MI 48226

8. Farmer's Mural

2448 Market Street, Detroit, MI 48207

The largest of several Alex Pollock murals commissioned by the city in the 1970s to help revive declining Eastern Market. It was painstakingly restored by a local artist last summer, so it's just as vibrant as the more recent street art that coats many buildings nearby. Definitely worth checking out.

2448 Market Street
Detroit, MI 48207

9. Dodge Fountain

Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226

Disabled by vandals in 2013, this monument is now back in action. Everyone's seen photos of the Dodge Fountain, but it's an entirely different experience to visit in person. Suspended 30' in the air, its huge, stainless steel ring emits a misty spray that serves as the focal point of Hart Plaza. Designed by Isamu Noguchi and Walter Budd and installed in 1980, it's just a quick detour if walking the RiverWalk. [Photo: Mark Hall]

Hart Plaza
Detroit, MI 48226

10. Grand River Creative Corridor

Detroit, MI

Stretching for several blocks along Grand River Avenue, the GRCC is a neighborhood revitalization project featuring over 100 murals. After facing down the city's anti-graffiti task force last fall, the ever-evolving GRCC remains vibrant as ever. [Photo:GRCC/Facebook]

11. James Scott Memorial Fountain

Fountain Way, Detroit, MI 48207

Memorial day is coming up, meaning the Scott Fountain will soon begin another summer of glorious gurgling. Designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in 1923, the massive fountain and its Pewabic tile are slowly being restored original splendor. Between the 150 cherry trees planted last fall and a selection of new vendors arriving on Belle Isle this summer, visiting the Scott is a no-brainer.

Fountain Way
Detroit, MI 48207

12. The Belt

231 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226

The alleyway running through the artsy Z-Lot now has a sizable mural collection of its own. Known as the Belt, the outdoor gallery/event space includes pieces from over a dozen artists, including Shepard Fairey. Organizers hope to add vendors and furniture over the summer.

231 Gratiot Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226