Art, Beauty and Land Use in Detroit

Arts and Culture editor Rebecca Mazzei looks at public art - both official and unofficial - across the landscape of Detroit, and advocates for a bold new public art fund for the city.

"What I'm saying is there has to be a clear-eyed evaluation of Detroit's actual assets, and two big ones are our artists and our land. An initiative such as this would, first off, be tailored to supporting the activities of people who actually live here. It would lead by example, proving that local public art projects are, as Heidelberg's Tyree Guyton says, "medicine" for the community. Second, it would allow Detroiters to experience world-class art in inconspicuous places, on grounds they feel familiar with, for free. Plus, welcoming internationally known artists to interact with our environment is a smart move that teaches artists (who have influence in shaping culture and are more likely to listen) to value our region's natural resources and to learn more about our rich history."

Detroit resident and art patron Marc Schwartz agrees:

"Detroit, through misfortune, has one natural resource which every other major city in the world except for Paris, with its extensive parks system, covets: land space. It allows for many opportunities transforming the land or placing objects on it. Working with vacant land in some manner is probably the least expensive way to make transformation. You could change the city landscape more cost effectively than a $20 million building could."

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