Local artist MaryLou Stropoli and Sunflour Bakehaus owners Jeff Pavlik and Becky Burns pose in front of some of Stropoli’s artwork on the counter and one of the murals already on the bakery walls.

Local artist MaryLou Stropoli and Sunflour Bakehaus owners Jeff Pavlik and Becky Burns pose in front of some of Stropoli’s artwork on the counter and one of the murals already on the bakery walls.

Photo by Jonathan Shead

Farmington artists chosen to produce two new murals

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published July 21, 2020


FARMINGTON — New murals will be making their way to two Farmington businesses, The Vines Flower & Garden Shop and Sunflour Bakehaus, come August.

After a Feb. 22 public art event at Legato Salon and Spa, where residents were able to voice their opinions about the direction of public art downtown, the Downtown Development Authority secured two grants.

“I think it’s a reflection of the community’s passion for public art, and their demand for a better place and community,” DDA Director Kate Knight said of the two upcoming murals. “One of the things you see commonly cited is downtowns or places with murals or public art, people spend more time in them. They have a greater affinity for place … and in turn patronize the businesses and place in that downtown more. There is an actual return on investment with shopping dollars and community support.”

The mural designs are in the final review process by the DDA’s Design Committee and are slated to be reviewed by The Zoning Board of Appeals Aug. 5. Knight said if they get the approval then, she’d “like to have paint rolling on the 6th.”

The two muralists chosen, by respective business owners, are both Farmington locals.


The Vines Flower & Garden Shop
You may have known owner Michele Hinds’ flower shop, The Vines Flower & Garden Shop, as the purple building downtown, but her purple building has now been repainted white and is ready for a makeover.

The shop, which Knight said the DDA had identified as a premier mural site for a while, was in need of some structural repairs. Masonry issues outside made the shop eligible for a $1,240 DDA Facade Improvement Grant, which Hinds’ shop was awarded. The money was then doubled and matched by a Main Street Oakland County Flagstar Bank placemaking grant, for a total of $2,430, allowing for the improvements and the mural to be completed.

Hinds said she’s “very excited to see (the mural) come to life.”

Local artist Mac Harthun will be painting the mural.

Harthun, who described her style as “outline-y and bold,” said the mural will be botanically themed with a bunch of flowers.

“I want it to be simple but also have it pop,” she said. “Hopefully, people think it’s beautiful when they look at it, and hopefully, it gives somebody some inspiration.”

“As a purple building, we used to have a purple door. We had a lot of people who always took pictures in front of it. I think this will be an even bigger attraction to have photos taken. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for the community,” Hinds added.


Sunflour Bakehaus
With the inside walls of Sunflour Bakehaus already containing paintings of sunflowers, fields of wheat and lush greenery, store owners Jeff Pavlik and Becky Burns felt it was time to add some art to the outside, as well.

The bakery and bread shop received a $5,500 grant from the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors to produce the mural. Local art teacher, owner of That Art Girl and close friend MaryLou Stropoli will be painting the mural.

“We wanted to make sure we knew the artist that was putting art on our walls. We weren’t just interested in an artist that we didn’t have a personal connection to,” Pavlik said, adding that Stropoli has taught his kids art and has been a frequent customer for many years.

For Stropoli, the opportunity to create a piece of art in her hometown is “a dream come true,” she said. She said her mural will be inspired by Mary Blaire, the designer for Disney’s “It’s a Small World.”

“She was kind of revolutionary in the way she utilized color and shape, so I’ll use those same elements. She also incorporated children into her work, and (Burns and Pavlik) have been tireless in working with children in our community, so I thought that would be a great homage to them,” she said, adding that she plans to invite kids in the community to help her produce the mural.

“When I first asked what (they) wanted to include, (they) said, ‘sunflowers and diversity.’”

Pavlik added that the mural, while inspired by a classic style, won’t be nostalgic, nor futuristic, but right in the middle of modern. He described it as being “perfect for town (and) perfect for 2020.”

“I think when people see it, they’re going to have a sense of community pride,” Pavlik said. “When people see it, they’ll recognize town. They’ll recognize the people. They recognize the place and the time. They’ll recognize what we hold dear.”

“I really hope the community feels joy and a sense of unity from it,” Stropoli added, “and I do hope it brings vibrancy and a sense of love to the business, because everybody loves our bakery.”