Urban Art

In April, my niece Kaitlyn asked me to chaperon her field trip to the Detroit Institute of Art.  After balking at the fact that I am old enough to chaperon, I humbly accepted her invitation.  If my teenage niece thinks enough of me to not be embarrassed to bring me around her friends then who am I to deny her.  I met her at her high school, met the “Madam” French teacher and climbed aboard a school bus with at least fifty high school kids.  We talked and listened to each others’ music on our iPods.  I thought it was funny how much eighties music she had and introduced her to some Duffy and Lauren Hill.

I was eventually in charge of six other teenage girls.  Yikes.  They were lovely and we started to move through the institute oohing, aaahing and looking for the listed artists that they had been learning about in class.  Kaitlyn loves art as much, if not more than I do and it made for a wonderful afternoon.  The other girls varied in their speed and interest but in the end I think we all had a good time.

We made some time for art shenanigans and joined the French Revolution

As we wandered through the institute I was moved by too many works of art to post here.  Standing in front of an actual Rembrandt was surreal.  I had not been to an art museum in 10 years.  I am ashamed to admit it but slowly pondering art is not an activity for three restless little boys.  I have taken my oldest to the 1st Sunday Gallery Walk and I have been to the East Lansing Art Festival.  Other than that, I have been on a very low art diet.  I was so grateful to Kaitlyn for allowing me to tag along. 

In the end, no one believed I was nearly thirty, I found some great note cards and Kaitlyn bought herself a very cool beaded ring from the gift shop.  Success all around.
 It is now the beginning of August and I look for opportunities to enjoy artwork in every form.  Imagine my surprise last night when we drove by a condemned motel on Washington Ave. and saw this.
and this…

This used to be the Deluxe Inn.  It was an eye sore and a crime scene in our neighborhood one too many times. It is now scheduled for demolition in a month.  A graffiti artist was arrested for tagging a train and this became his community service.  He organized a league of graffiti artists to go ballistic on this soon to be pile of rubble.  The result was an exhibit of graffiti art like one doesn’t see in Lansing.  It was a gift to the community.


I took a bunch of pictures of the art.  What I failed to capture was the outpouring of the community.  The news channels showed up, the neighbors showed up and of course, the artists showed up in a big way.  It was a beautiful piece of urban art work.  My favorite on lookers were the middle aged Midwesterners that cruised the parking lot in their Hondas like it was Montana St. on Sunday night*.  


If you get an opportunity, I strongly encourage you to make the drive to see how the art develops until it is gone.  Especially if the best graffiti art you have ever seen was at a train stop.  I am looking forward to driving by it on my next bike ride.  Maybe I will see you there.


For more photos, check out my Flicker Photostream.


*Every Sunday night, In El Paso, Texas, beautiful cars cruise Montana Avenue to show off their detailing, rims and sound systems.  Or they used to about 10 years ago.  Yep, I’m from the EPT.

2 thoughts on “Urban Art

  1. That sounds like such a great trip!
    I've loved graffiti since a highschool classmate showed me some of his work, and I realized that it's an art form, not necessarily an act of vandalism.

    (I'm here from BlogFrog and the SITS 31Days challenge.)

    All the best. Heather

  2. Thanks for being a great supporter Heather. That BlogFrog community is so great!

    It was a great trip and I was so glad to find this spot in my neighborhood. I can look at until it burns down. I think I will go watch it being demolished and take pictures.

    Thanks again!

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