Mural to brighten up pedestrian bridge support columns

By: Nick Powers | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published June 17, 2024

 This rendering shows the proposed mural Tatum Lorway is set to make on the support columns of the 16 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway pedestrian bridge.

This rendering shows the proposed mural Tatum Lorway is set to make on the support columns of the 16 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway pedestrian bridge.

Rendering provided by Tatum Lorway


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The support columns of the pedestrian bridge at 16 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway are slated to get a splash of color.

Artist Tatum Lorway, who grew up in the township, will create the mural as part of a collaboration between the Detroit Institute of Arts and Clinton Township. Her proposal was approved unanimously by the Clinton Township Board of Trustees at its June 3 meeting.

Clinton Township Trustee Julie Matuzak, who is also on the DIA board, praised the project and was happy to see it go to a local artist.

“I think it’s going to be beautiful,” Matuzak said at the meeting. “The DIA did not give this. It is a reward for voting on the DIA millage.”

Trustee Tammy Patton’s son went to school with Lorway. The trustee praised the artist’s growth over the years and her work on the mural.

“To me, you captured everything,” she said.

“Your work is amazing,” Township Clerk Kim Meltzer said about the artist’s work. “Everything has a meaning with you and it’s very impressive.”

For Lorway, the project brings her back to the place where her career as an artist began.

“My first mural was at Chippewa (Valley) High School on their softball field,” Lorway said. “It’s really fun to come back to the township for one at this scale.”

Patton encouraged Lorway to submit a proposal for the mural. Following the approval of the township board, the mural was OK’d by the DIA’s board of directors. The mural will go on two sets of columns on either side of the bridge.

Lorway is currently the 2D and 3D art foundations teacher at Romeo High School. Since Lorway has the summer to work on the project, she said it’ll probably come together quickly. She estimates about two weeks, depending on the weather.

Lorway has been an artist all her life.

“When I was really young, I started drawing and my parents caught on,” said Lorway, who graduated from the College for Creative Studies in 2022. “They put me in lessons.”

Lorway said Chippewa Valley teacher Wendelin Wilson was a catalyst in her career as an artist. She said the teacher took her under her wing.

“She’s been my mentor ever since,” Lorway said.

The idea for the mural came to Lorway fairly quickly. She drew on her experience growing up in the community as well as input from the residents from a survey. From these sources, the Clinton River became a focal point of the project.

“Thinking that the Clinton River is one of the main things that this township really surrounds, it came pretty quickly,” Lorway said.

In the meeting, she said she kept the detail to a minimum to dissuade drivers from staring at it too closely at the busy intersection. The bed of rocks in the flowing river represent the community members of Clinton Township, according to Lorway.

“I wanted to have different shapes, sizes, colors,” Lorway said. “That way they can actually make up how diverse our community is around here. The people are the ones who hold the form of the city, so I wanted to be inclusive of everyone within it.”

Arrowheads are also included among the rocks to reference the Native American history in the township.

“Something that, in more detail, the pedestrians could see rather than just the cars,” she said. “I added those scattered within just as a nod toward that rich history.”

The water itself also carries meaning.

“The flow of the actual water in the river was supposed to be symbolic of the strength and the spirit that our township has,” Lorway said.

This is the largest project Lorway has been commissioned to make so far.

“I’m just really thankful for it,” Lorway said about getting the chance to do the mural. “I think it’s a really great thing that Clinton Township and the DIA are working together on. A lot of the residents know that that area has been pretty gray for a long time. The opportunity to be included on a project like this is really exciting.”