Detroit is a city full of artists who are finding new outlets for their creative talents. In recent years, one of the most beautiful forms of creative expression used to celebrate Detroit has been through visual art in the form of murals. With our rich legacy of design and innovation, it’s no surprise that we are one of the best cities in the United States to explore street art.
One of the most valuable resources to exploring Detroit's street murals is the Detroit Mural Project created by Viranel Clerard. Since 2015, he has categorized and diligently researched Detroit’s public art on his site and has earned the respect of artists and curators alike. Clerard is on a mission to tie in the history of Detroit, document public art, and engage other cultural staples like Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Historical Museum. Clerard is also deeply passionate about being an educational resource for the children of the city through teaching art appreciation, "Navigating the art scene can be intimidating," he explains, "through internships and cultural experiences, I would love to expose Detroit kids to the business of art."
Clerard not only photographed over 1000 Detroit public art murals, but also researched information the community would want to know–details about the artist, who they are and why they were commissioned, if at all. "Part of my definition of a mural is whether it is publicly accessible. It has to be on an exterior wall of a building," Clerard further explains that the difference between graffiti and public murals are the benefit the community and not the artist, "Is the artist giving their time and effort to the community? Or are they tagging their names and self promoting?"
"There are so many incredible details about the art in Detroit that’s fun to discover and share," he explains with a smile, "When I found out that Diego Rivera’s last living assistant has a mural in Southwest Detroit, I couldn't wait to text all of my friends."