This mural made in Clawson in 2019 was among the projects that the Detroit Institute of Arts helped create as part of its Partners in Public Art program.

This mural made in Clawson in 2019 was among the projects that the Detroit Institute of Arts helped create as part of its Partners in Public Art program.

Photo provided by Charles Garling


Eastpointe teaming up with DIA to create community mural

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 25, 2020

 For the last three years, the Detroit Institute of Arts has worked with various communities to create murals throughout the tri-county area to thank them for their support of a millage that supports the museum. This included a mural representing Romeo’s history, pictured.

For the last three years, the Detroit Institute of Arts has worked with various communities to create murals throughout the tri-county area to thank them for their support of a millage that supports the museum. This included a mural representing Romeo’s history, pictured.

Photo provided by Charles Garling

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe Arts and Cultural Diversity Commission and the Detroit Institute of Arts want to hear from Eastpointe residents regarding what they would like to see from a new public art piece that will be installed in Eastpointe.

The initiative is part of the DIA’s Partners in Public Art program. For the last three years, the DIA has been working with communities to create murals in cities throughout the three counties that support the museum through a millage.

“The DIA feels a commitment to the communities that supported the tri-county millage, and we realize that we had the resources and expertise to help the communities to create works of public art that they might not otherwise do,” said Charles Garling, the DIA’s director of studio programs. “The purpose is to strengthen peoples’ sense of community through a work of art representative of their values and what they find important.”

Eastpointe residents can provide input for what they would like to see from the mural, particularly what themes it should include and where it should be located.

“We want to know what art style is best suited for a new mural in Eastpointe, and what themes or ideas should we incorporate into it to represent the Eastpointe community,” said Alysa Diebolt, the chair of the Eastpointe Arts and Cultural Diversity Commission. “We want to leave it open and broad so we get a variety of responses.”

The surveys can be found by going to tinyurl.com/eastpointe publicartsurvey or by picking up a paper copy at Eastpointe City Hall, located at 23200 Gratiot Ave. Responses are due Feb. 28.

Eastpointe officials have worked with the DIA on numerous occasions before, but they were happy to do so in a way that will bring something into their community.

“The Arts Commission worked with the DIA last year on Shamrock Day,” said Diebolt. “We were talking with someone in their studio program, and that guy emailed me and asked if we would be interested in getting involved in a new program to start a mural project in the tri-county area.”

Garling said the DIA tries to spread the PIPA program throughout the metro Detroit area, but said Eastpointe was chosen due to their strong relationship.

“Communities are chosen based on many factors: interest from the community, where have we allocated resources in the past, and spreading out where we are providing help on projects like this,” he explained. “We want to ensure we are allocating our resources fairly throughout the tri-county area. We have worked with Eastpointe in the past, but we hadn’t been there in a while, so they seemed like a good partner to reach out to.”

After choosing a community, the DIA’s representatives begin working alongside members of the community to bring the project to fruition.

“We reach out to potential stakeholders, such as Eastpointe’s Arts and Cultural Diversity Commission, and we also reach out to people within the municipality who can help us through the approval process, such as cultural institutions or a city’s zoning board,” Garling said. “After we know they are interested, we meet with them, we talk about ideas, we talk about locations and artists or themes and ideas they think would be a good fit. Then they create a survey that asks three things: what types of public art they enjoy seeing in other communities; what works of art in their community they like; and what themes they would like to see reflected in the artwork.”

The artist for the mural will be chosen based on responses from the surveys, but the DIA has a roster of known artists that it can suggest, and the DIA tries to find a local artist to lead the project whenever possible.

“We have a group of known artists we can contact who we can suggest as having the right style and right experience for what a community wants. Ideally, they are all local artists so it remains a community-driven project,” said Garling. “For instance, we recently worked in Clawson and had a Clawson High School art teacher do the mural. In Romeo, we had a Detroit-based artist who worked with a Romeo resident and DIA staff member to create it. It depends on what the project is, and what style the community wants, to find the right artist.”

“We want Eastpointe residents involved in this project,” remarked Diebolt. “It’s not just an Arts and Cultural Diversity Commission project or a city project or a DIA project. We want people to feel like this is part of their community.”

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