City Walls, a four-year-old Detroit government initiative, just hit a milestone worth noting: A six-story mural by local artist Waleed Johnson on an east-side storage building is the program's 100th mural.
His work at Mack and Van Dyke avenues, "The Spirit," shows a Black woman with the city flag as a head wrap and holding the gold sun and spires of Marshall Fredricks' "Spirit of Detroit" statue (above). "For years I've wanted to do something to celebrate the city that made me who I am," Johnson, 29, says in a city media release.
"The very first portrait painting I ever completed was an image of me wearing a Detroit vs Everybody hoodie back in 2014, and now the largest painting I've ever completed is also about my home."
The mayor's office marks the 100th mural achievement by posting some earlier street art it commissioned (below). What began "as a pilot [program] to replace graffiti-covered viaducts and vacant building walls with beautiful murals ... has grown into a full-scale beautification program," the announcement says.
The program's goals are to highlight the values and identity of the communities where artwork is created, empower Detroit artists, and provide a positive cost-benefit to the public via art versus the cost of blight remediation. ...
Each artist receives a $15,000 stipend and $10,000 in supplies to complete their art for the season.
"Many Detroiters probably enjoy these murals without realizing they've been commissioned by the city," the mayor is quoted as saying.
Fifteen murals are planned this fall, including at five recreation centers and Palmer Park's Detroit Exploration and Nature Center.
Photos from city: