The new mural was created at Copper Hop Brewing Company.

The new mural was created at Copper Hop Brewing Company.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

DIA collaboration brings mural to St. Clair Shores

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 11, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — In collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Arts, local artist Haylie Mousseau is bringing art and brightness to St. Clair Shores with a new mural.

Mousseau, who has been a full-time artist for about a year, said she was very excited when she was approached for the mural.

“I couldn’t believe that someone was reaching out to me for this mural,” Mousseau said. “This mural was my biggest wall I’ve done so far.”

She’s done other murals before in St. Clair Shores, including the ones at Baffin Brewing Company and others in the downtown. She’s also done murals in people’s residences.

The mural took about three months due to time limits and bad weather, Mousseau said. The mural is by the patio at Copper Hop Brewing Company, and she didn’t want to paint while the restaurant was in operation, she explained, so she worked until they opened in the afternoon.

High winds prevented them from being on the scaffolding as well, Mousseau said.

Mousseau said, at first, she came up with three designs which turned into multiple designs.

She said she received feedback on the designs from a multitude of people. In the end there were about nine compositions before she had the final one. She also said they originally contracted her for the compositions, but they could have gone with a different artist.

“They said to me at the time that they could go with a different artist to end up doing different compositions, but I was chosen in the end,” Mousseau said.

The community has been very supportive of the mural.

“Every day, I’ve had people walking by saying, ‘Great job. It looks great — it looks amazing,’” Mousseau said. “And people would say they’re so excited about it. The community has been amazing.”

Ani Garabedian, community arts coordinator with the Division of Learning and Audience Engagement for the DIA, said the mural projects began three years ago and they’re all over.

Ian Rapnicki, public affairs officer for the DIA, said the project, which is called Partners in Public Art, is a tri-county program that benefits from the millage that supports the museum.

“So this project is specifically focused in the three counties nearest to us, and so it’s not a statewide program,” Rapnicki said.

In Macomb County, there is an agreement to complete two murals per year, Rapnicki said, and it’s entered into the equation recently.

“Now there’s going to be this regular expectation of completing two in Macomb County until every community, whether it’s a township or a city, they have the option to apply for it,” Rapnicki said.

Rapnicki said they’ll keep creating murals until everyone who wants one has one. He said they try to put the murals in bustling areas where they are noticeable.

Garabedian said they received an application from St. Clair Shores and Rapnicki added a person reached out on behalf of the Cool City Committee. They’ve heard about the Cool City Committee before as they’d applied for another project called “Inside|Out,” Rapnicki said.

This program brings reproductions of the artwork found inside the DIA to the outside for the summer.

The other mural in Macomb County this year is in Mount Clemens and the plan is to finish it before September. Garabedian said it is going on a fire station.

“A mother-daughter team of artists who are local to Mount Clemens are executing that one,” Rapnicki said.

Garabedian said the community is involved in the design of the mural with surveys and they give the feedback to the artist who makes multiple designs.

“It’s important for us to have the community involvement and since it is in their space, we want to make sure that it’s something they want to look at on a daily basis,” Garabedian said.   

Rapnicki said the official goals for completing the work are to help people “explore, express and strengthen their sense of community,” and to deepen the bond between the DIA and the communities in Southeast Michigan.

“We’re looking to provide the community with something that they truly feel represents them and they’re proud of but we’re also looking to kind of strengthen that bond that they have with the museum too,” Rapnicki said.