City seeks local artists for library mural concept

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 26, 2018

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The Sterling Heights Arts Commission is inviting local talent to join its latest off-the-wall idea to beautify the community with more art.

The Arts Commission is searching out artists or groups of artists who can design a mural composition that would appear on the outside of the Sterling Heights Public Library’s rear side, near its children’s garden.

According to the city, ideas for the mural’s subject matter may include libraries, reading, kids, family, gardens, animals, insects and more.

Jeanne Schabath, chair of the Arts Commission, said it’s important for the community to participate in the creation process so they can buy in to it. She described how murals enhance other places — such as Eastern Market in Detroit — turning them into destination points.

“Murals are temporary art, but it’s something they love and relish. It’ll be something to enhance wedding photos or graduation photos,” she said.

“The elements do get to them, be it three, five, six years. (But) you get to see the transformation into another mural down the road. You can say, ‘I remember when.’”

The library mural will be the second mural to appear in Sterling Heights soon. Schabath said the first is coming this spring along the Van Dyke Avenue underpasses by an artist named Louise Chen, aka Ouizi.

“It is going to be going with the nature theme,” Schabath said. “It’s not going to be very intrusive. It’s a mammoth area. The city allowed me to go bring that artist out there. …  She herself was so excited to bring this to the city.”

In the case of the library mural, a professional artist will actually paint the design that the winning applicant makes, and the city plans to award the designer $1,000 and a plaque.

Community Relations Director Bridget Kozlowski said she is the liaison to the Arts Commission. She said the commission was very interested in getting someone from the community to provide the inspiration for the next piece of public art.

“It could be anyone from around metro Detroit or beyond,” she said. “But I think the Arts Commission hopes to find someone local.”

Kozlowski said she expects the city to get a good turnout and a number of responses, since the winner will get a cash prize.

“Obviously, installing a mural is not something the average person can do,” Kozlowski said. “But the average person can make a design.”

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and must transfer copyright to the city. The submissions can be on any size of paper, but 8 ½ by 11 inches is preferred. Submissions may be handed in at City Hall, mailed to City Hall — to Kozlowski’s attention — or emailed to Kozlowski at bkoz@sterling-heights.net.

The design submission deadline is 5 p.m. March 30. The Arts Commission plans to review the entries in early April, and a winner will be announced April 6, the city said.

Sterling Heights City Hall is located at 40555 Utica Road, Sterling Heights, MI 48313. Find out more by calling (586) 446-2471.