Detroit artist Curtis Lewis, right, stands with Grosse Pointe Public Library Woods Branch Manager Pat McClary with the three murals of Aretha Franklin he loaned to the library.

Detroit artist Curtis Lewis, right, stands with Grosse Pointe Public Library Woods Branch Manager Pat McClary with the three murals of Aretha Franklin he loaned to the library.

Photo provided by the Grosse Pointe Public Library


Singer Aretha Franklin memorialized in murals

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 27, 2019

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — She was known as the Queen of Soul, and a local artist is carrying on her legacy through his own talents.

Detroit artist Curtis Lewis has painted three murals depicting the life of singer Aretha Franklin, who died Aug. 16, 2018, in Detroit. The trilogy exhibit, titled “Long Live the Queen,” depicts Franklin in various stages of her life and career.

The artwork, originally unveiled July 17 at the Grosse Pointe Public Library’s Central Branch in Grosse Pointe Farms, is now on display on the second floor of the library’s Woods Branch, 20680 Mack Ave.

The paintings, on loan from Lewis, are expected to stay at the Woods Branch for approximately one month. According to a library press release, each mural measures 3 feet by 4 feet and is painted in a mixed media of oil and acrylic in vibrant colors, jewels and rhinestones “fit for a queen.”

The press release also states that Lewis’ career spans more than four decades. The Grand Rapids native took courses during high school at the Detroit Institute of Arts and received a full scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago.

Franklin’s career spanned several decades and included many hits, “Respect,” “A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools” among them.