Enormous art installation begins taking shape on Detroit's east side

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Rendering of the new art installation (right), with Southeastern High School across the street (left). - COURTESY OF CITY OF DETROIT
  • Courtesy of City of Detroit
  • Rendering of the new art installation (right), with Southeastern High School across the street (left).

Detroit is building walls, but not to keep people out.

City officials are teaming up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to create one of the largest municipal art installations in Detroit history.



Fifteen-foot-high canvasses that stretch 1,500 feet long have been erected near Beniteau Street and Kercheval Avenue across from Southeastern High School on the city’s east side.

The installation is near FCA’s new auto assembly plant, which is expected to create 4,950 jobs when it opens.



City and FCA officials are meeting with nearby residents, including students at Southeastern High School and Detroit Enterprise Academy, to generate a theme for the murals.

On Friday, the city will issue an open call for artists to paint the canvasses. A selection committee is expected to choose the art team by June 1, and the installation is expected to be complete by Oct. 30.

The installation includes two walls — one that runs along Beniteau, across from Southeastern High School, and another at Beniteau and Kercheval, which faces a new storm water park with a walking path, pollinator gardens, and an education pavilion.

“This wonderful gift from FCA is just another example of how much arts and culture are alive and well — and thriving here,” Rochelle Riley, the city’s director of arts and culture, said in a news release. “And even more great things are coming in Detroit — where the arts are a way of life.”

The project is tied to a $35 million community benefits agreement between FCA and the city. The agreement involves neighborhood improvements, new housing, workforce development, environmental initiatives, and education and training programs.

“Our commitment to this city goes well beyond our facility,” Mark Stewart, chief operating officer of FCA — North America, said in a news release. “We (FCA, the City of Detroit and residents) have a shared responsibility for the neighborhood around the new plant. These murals will reflect the values and identity of the community and our shared vision for a positive future.”

The canvasses are erected. - FCA
  • FCA
  • The canvasses are erected.

A new storm water park that will include a walking path, pollinator gardens, and an education pavilion. - FCA
  • FCA
  • A new storm water park that will include a walking path, pollinator gardens, and an education pavilion.

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