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Best Outdoor Art In Detroit

Detroit certainly has a vibrant art scene, including art that can be found outdoors. There's no better time to be out in the city. Treat yourself to a summer art walk and check out these murals, statues, and more.
The Thinker
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7900

The Thinker sits outside the DIA, and is actually part of the museum's collection. It was created in 1904 and is a copy of the original Auguste Rodin statue, and it originated with Dr. and Mrs. M. Linde, in Germany; it was sold with the rest of their collection in 1922, and was then gifted by Horace Rackham to the DIA that same year. It weights approximately 2,000 pounds. The DIA has 5+ other sculptures by Rodin, as well.

Eastern Market
2934 Russell St.
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 833-9300

Eastern Market is already well-known in Detroit, but did you know that it features many murals, as well? The Market's lion/chimera mural, painted in 2010, is of course still around, too, and can be seen from the highway - it's actual location is on building #2, on the Russell Industrial Center, and the chimera is 4,000 square feet across.

Monument To Joe Louis
Hart Plaza
1 Hart Plaza
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 877-8077

If you've been in Hart Plaza, you've undoubtedly seen the giant fist that sits in the middle of the plaza - however, do you know the history behind it? It's a memorial to the famous boxer Joe Louis, and was dedicated on October 16, 1986; it was commissioned by Sports Illustrated by the sculptor Robert Graham, and it's arm is 24 feet long. The art is also symbolic, in that it "represents the power of his punch both inside and outside the ring - it's symbolically aimed towards racial injustice." Monument to Joe Louis (or, "The Fist," as it's also called) was valued at $1M to $2M in 2013 by art dealer/historian Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz.

Related: Best Upcoming Exhibits For Kids In Detroit

The Heidelberg Project
3600 Heidelberg St.
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 974-6894

The Heidelberg Project calls itself an "open air art environment," and was created in 1986 by a Detroit resident/artist, Tyree Gunton. In 1991 and 1999, some of its art was demolished (they were a barrier for some urban planning) but despite that, the project is still thriving today. The project's goal is to make unused houses into works of art, and to develop the two-block area into a "Funky Artistic Cultural Village." The HP also accepts volunteers, so if you are interested in helping them out, check out the website above.

Humpback Whale Mural
David Broderick Tower
10 Witherell St.
Detroit, MI 48226

The humpback whale mural has an interesting history - it was painted by Bob Wyland, who is a metro Detroit native and Lamphere High School grad, and it was dedicated on October 13, 1997. In July 2006, a billboard was placed over the mural, but in June 2010, the billboard was removed, so the mural can now be viewed again. Broderick Tower itself was built 1928, and renovated in 2012, too.

Related: Best Bizarre Statues Or Public Art In The Detroit Area

Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at and
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