Week 5 Blog – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5 Blog


I really like this article for a few reasons. I enjoy it because of the fact that it shows Detroit in a light that you rarely see in most pieces about Detroit. Even looking for an article that wasn’t focused on the negatives of Detroit was difficult, let alone one that showcased the ability of the arts to bring positivity and unity to the communities of Detroit. I particularly enjoyed the subject matter of the article. It was focused on the efforts of local artists and communities who, concerned with the disconnect and malcontent between newcomers to Detroit and those native to the city, have begun to place murals around Detroit which calls attention to important community figures and leaders in Detroit history. The hope is that seeing these murals will prompt discussion about the history of the Detroit to newcomers, providing a bridge between the old and the new to the city, as well as  beautify the city. This idea as publicly seen and available art being a way to prompt discussion and to bring pride to communities isn’t new to me, and it’s always interesting to see how it’s being applied to different communities. My father is a painter and muralist who operates in Flint, and his work brings attention to the history of our city. He has also brung his art to the classrooms of Flint, teaching high school children in after-school and summer programs at times. I think that big public works such as murals are particularly effective in their ability to bring pride to certain communities because they can be inserted into most urban settings, make use of space which is readily available, and take up relatively little resources in the process (as compared to other large scale public beautification projects). I would love to see this idea expanded and discussed upon because it holds the potential to bring beauty and creativity into any community, it can be tailored to suit the wants and needs of the many culturally unique communities in Detroit, and it gives legitimacy to programs which focus on bringing the arts into a more prominent position within the school system (and it supports artists like my dad).

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