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Great Art Finds in Detroit Beyond Museums

If you live in Detroit or are planning to visit, there are so many great art finds in Detroit. And you don’t even have to step foot in a museum.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going to a museum. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is one of the best in the country. And the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAD) is a great place to see what’s new in the art world. Then there’s the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and the amazing Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum.

But then what?

Cool Art Finds in Detroit Outside Museums

Whether you’ve exhausted the museums or are not really into the whole museum thing, there’s a massive art scene in Detroit that only requires some wandering and a willingness to discover.

1. Head Down to Hart Plaza

At the center of downtown Detroit is Hart Plaza. It’s an expansive space set on the Detroit River that has a great view of Windsor, Ontario, Canada across the strait. It’s also the site of many sculptures.

The Monument to Joe Louis is probably the most famous and known to Detroiters simply as The Fist. It’s a huge fist suspended from a pyramid and it represents the famous fighter’s rise up against racism.

Not far from The Fist is The Gateway to Freedom sculpture which faces Canada and memorializes the last stop on the Underground Railroad. Facing Windsor, Canada, the sculpture memorializes Detroit’s history as the last stop on the Underground Railroad.

2. Explore the Legendary Heidelberg Project

Set your GPS to the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood to get a glimpse of what’s happening these days with Heidelberg Project. Established in 1986 by Tyree Guyton, this outdoor art installation of found objects is in the neighborhood where he grew up and it is ever-evolving. He started the project in response to the urban blight there by the mid-1980s.

The Heidelberg Project has gotten national recognition and receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s a good idea to download the Heidelberg Project app before you visit so you’ll have intel on all the latest there.

3. Visit Eastern Market/Dequindre Cut

The Eastern Market is well-known for its massive Saturday market filled with farmers, flowers, and other folks peddling amazing products. But it’s also a bastion of amazing street art.

Each summer, there’s a Murals in the Market Festival where the street art gets a new look. Then it’s there to be viewed for the rest of the year. You can download a Murals in the Market map for a more organized approach. And if you don’t like crowds, it’s best to avoid Saturdays.

Then hit the Dequindre Cut – a two-mile paved urban path that runs from Eastern Market to the East Riverfront. The walls are chock full of art – both commissioned and graffitied. It’s an inspiring stroll.

4. Check Out the Mexicantown Murals

To experience an important piece of Detroit’s history, be sure to hit Mexicantown. This southwest Detroit neighborhood has long been a celebration of the food, culture, and art of Mexico.

The area is loaded with murals, both new and not-so-new. Some even date back to the 1970s. It’s a truly unique place.

5. Poke Around the Z Lot and The Belt

Right off Library Street, there’s the Z Lot. From the top level, it’s a great place to get a panoramic view of Detroit’s skyline. But more than that, the garage is festooned with 130 murals from a collaboration of 27 artists. So if you take a cruise through the lot, be sure to go all the way to the top to get the full experience.

After that, you can explore The Belt. This art-filled alley adjacent to the Z Lot was once part of the downtown garment district. Now it’s a stunning display of street murals that line either side of the alley.

6. Wander Into City Sculpture Park

Now located at 3573 Farnsworth St., the original City Sculpture Park was designed by local Detroit artist Robert Sestok. Sestok was a pivotal artist in the 1970s Cass Corridor art movement. He created this outdoor art park of his found-object and welded metal sculptures as a place to provide an educational experience for high school and college students.

Today, the park stands as a testament to the power of art and artists in Detroit. The new location displays many of his large-scale works and invigorates the neighborhood.

Art and Artists Are Thriving in Detroit!!!

The above list of great art finds in Detroit is hardly exhaustive. Murals, street art, and installations are constantly changing. So check them out.

And if you live in the Detroit area and have a wildly creative child who’s not thriving with conventional education, then contact us today.

Our arts academy middle and high school integrates the arts with academics so that young artists enjoy learning. Why not schedule a tour of our school today?


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