Good news everyone! Downtown Detroit is on the upswing! Convention bookings are up, buildings once at risk of being razed are being converted to apartments, retail, and restaurants, and tenants are filling housing stock as it comes online!
But progress comes at a price.
Last week, a 50-by-25 foot geometric mural painted by artist David Rubello in 1973 on the Julian C. Madison Building was covered up, first by a lovely brownish-gray paint, and then by an equally lovely 7-Eleven advertisement.
Check out the pics below to see the conversion in progress.
What’s particularly annoying about the ad is that even if it enticed you to get your Slurpee on, you pretty much have to do it outside of the city. Below, we’ve made a map showing all of the Detroit 7 Eleven locations (one, opened in April), and all of the nearby suburban/Canadian 7 Eleven locations (plenty). Sadly enough, if you connected the dots between the 7 Eleven locations, you’d roughly have an outline of the city, and barely ever have to touch the city itself. Either Detroiters aren’t the ones being advertised to, or someone in the marketing department doesn’t know how to target their message to their actual customers.
So, have we lost a piece of our history, a slice of our culture? Is that what progress is about?
Or does this indicate that Detroit is rejoining the ranks of cities with a downtown worth advertising on, and worth advertising to?
I’ll join you in the comment section below, where we can coin absurd terms like “2 dimensional gentrification” and argue over just how purrfect or impurrfect this campaign is.
If you’d like more info on Detroit’s geometric murals, please check out this blog, and see them in person before they become billboards for Taco Bell breakfast offerings.