Street art is now a business, not just a passion project, and artists are entrepreneurs. Though they’re finding more opportunities than ever to paint, disentangling the joy of the work from the complexity of its impacts becomes tougher as the art itself becomes more valuable to more people. “If a developer has a lot of money and is going to pay me and I need a job, weighing out my morals versus my rent is a really hard decision to make,” says Ellen Rutt, a Detroit artist who has painted both commercial and noncommercial murals. “And I feel like it’s hard to put the responsibility on the people who are more at risk and also experiencing the effects of gentrification. That’s one of the hard parts — sometimes I’m painting a wall and I’m literally painting myself out of my own apartment.”
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.