A mural adorns the wall of a BP gas station near Utica and Dodge Park roads in Sterling Heights. The city is looking for other businesses that want to have public mural art on their premises.

A mural adorns the wall of a BP gas station near Utica and Dodge Park roads in Sterling Heights. The city is looking for other businesses that want to have public mural art on their premises.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


More public art to come through mural program

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 8, 2019

STERLING HEIGHTS — Amid the news of the Golden Corridor ring icon receiving its new name, the Sterling Heights Art Commission announced that it is looking for businesses that want their bare walls to turn into canvases for public mural art.

Interested businesses may apply on the city’s website to participate in the 2019 mural program, according to Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Bridget Kozlowski. If approved, the business owner may sign a five-year lease to have a mural up. The city will then find an artist to create the mural sometime between May and October, officials said.

The city welcomed the completion of three new murals last year: at the Sterling Heights Public Library, on an M-53 underpass and at a BP gas station near City Hall.

This year, city officials await a new mural on the Police Department building thanks to a partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts.

In a statement, Kozlowski said the city is excited to form partnerships that beautify blank spaces.

“We’re certain this will continue to energize and add vibrancy to these specific areas of our city,” she said. “We’ve seen great response to our first three murals and hope to continue this forward momentum.”

Jeanne Schabath, the chair of the Art Commission, said she isn’t yet sure of the budget the city will have for murals this year. But she said she is expecting two or three additional ones, separate from the Police Department one.

She explained that she has checked social media to see how the public has responded to the latest Sterling Heights murals, adding that searching for the hashtag “Ouizi” — the artist who painted flowers on the M-53 underpass — turns up responses.

“It’s a hot spot to get your photos done for high school or for a wedding,” Schabath said about the mural. “You don’t see the revenue, but you do get to see the smiles.”

She also expects new murals to be located outside the City Center area, which is by Utica and Dodge Park roads.

“Not everything had to be right there by Dodge Park, which is why when you take a look at the Golden Corridor and the golden circle, we’re looking at trying to have art throughout the city,” she said.

During a March 18 City Council meeting, Councilman Michael Radtke proposed letting the high schools’ art department students design customized crosswalks outside their buildings, perhaps by using school colors.

Radtke said he met with City Manager Mark Vanderpool to discuss the idea as a way to add more art to the city, and he hopes that the Art Commission will think about it.

“I think it’d be a nice way to show school pride, especially because we were just talking about redesigning those crosses to make them safer,” he said. “So if we add this in, we’re kind of doing two things at once.”

While no action took place on the item, Mayor Michael Taylor said he thinks it is a good idea.

“I’d like to see where that goes,” he said.

Find out more about the city’s mural program by visiting www.sterling-heights.net/mural program.