This mural in Romeo was created in partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts. It incorporates community feedback gathered through a survey.

This mural in Romeo was created in partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts. It incorporates community feedback gathered through a survey.

Photo provided by the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts, Utica partner to bring another mural to Utica

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 10, 2020


UTICA — The Detroit Institute of Arts and the city of Utica are partnering to bring another mural to Utica this summer, and they are asking residents to help decide what it will be.

“Following the success of Utica’s first mural, ‘Homeward Bound,’ by artist Wendy Popko, the Detroit Institute of Arts graciously offered to help us pursue our next mural,” Utica City Councilman Gus Calandrino said in an email.

The mural will focus on a theme that reflects the city and the ideas of residents. The DIA has created a survey in which residents can submit their ideas for the mural. The city and the DIA will go over the survey answers to decide on the design.

The survey asks only two questions: one about the style of art and the other about the mural’s themes. It provides space for residents to type their answers. It is posted at capublicartsurvey. The link also appears on the city’s Facebook page.

“The Detroit Institute of Arts wants the new mural to reflect the culture and needs of our community. Mayor Thom (Dionne) and I are meeting with officials from the DIA in a couple weeks to review the survey results,” Calandrino said.

The mural will be made possible through a program called the Partners in Public Art program.

Megan Hawthorne, the regional public relations manager for the DIA, said the program aims to create works that represent the community as a whole.

“PIPA works with communities to co-create community-driven, highly visible public works of art. The purpose of the program is to help people explore, express and build a stronger sense of community through a communal art experience,” she said in an email.

The project and its meaning will be created through the participation of those who live in the communities.

“Each project begins with residents and business owners in the particular community taking  part in a survey to assess interest and preferences for a public art project. The results of the survey are then incorporated into the final design for the project,” said Hawthorne.

The DIA also works with the community to determine a location.

“We are in the early stages of selecting an artist and a building. Officials from the Detroit Institute of Arts have met with us at City Hall several times to begin the planning,” Calandrino said.

Calandrino said Utica is hoping to have a special event to reveal the mural.

“We hope to have the ribbon cutting for the new mural later this summer. The DIA is also assisting us with fun events and educational programming to coincide with the mural. There will be events for people of all ages. We also hope to plan a free trip to the DIA for Utica residents,” he said.

The DIA pays for the mural projects using the millage money that voters in the tri-county area passed years ago.

For more information on the mural or the partnership, call the city at (586) 739-1600 or the DIA at (313) 833-7900.