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Most Iconic Works Of Art In Detroit

Detroit is a city known for its art, and it has many statues and artwork sprinkled throughout. Here are a few of the most iconic and famous pieces the city has to offer.

The Spirit of Detroit
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 224-5260

Price: free

The Spirit of Detroit, located in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, is one of the city's most recognizable statues. It has a sphere in its left hand and in its right hand, a group symbolizing the relationship between all people. You will often see the Spirit dressed up in a Red Wings or other sports team jersey when the teams are in the playoffs. For one of the Detroit Public School parades in August 2010, it was dressed in a DPS t-shirt. The city commissioned the sculpture in 1955 and bought it for $55,000. It was renovated in 2006.

Related: Spirit of Detroit Goes Back to School

Hart Plaza
1 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 877-8077Price: freeTranscending is one of the first things you will see upon entering Hart Plaza. It commemorates Detroit's 300th birthday, and was a gift from its labor unions that was given to the city in 2003. The sculpture was created by David Barr and Sergio De Giusti and is made out of stainless steel cut in an arc-shape. Transcending is 63 feet high and weighs a whopping 30 tons.

Mural of Diego Rivera
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7900

Hours: Sun - 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mon - Closed, Tues to Wed - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thurs to Sat - 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for youths (ages 6-17), $5 for college students with valid ID, Free for children 5 and under, Detroit residents (Fridays only), and DIA members.

Diego Rivera's mural is featured at Rivera Court at the DIA. It consists of 27 panels and it took him 11 months to complete the mural. It is one of the best examples of Mexican mural art in the United States and one of the artist himself's favorite works that he did. You can find the murals in the Great Hall located inside the DIA, and it is a "must see" for most museum-goers. The mural is done in the style of the "fresco," in which the artist puts paint onto wet plaster.

Monument to Joe Louis
Jefferson Ave. at Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226

Price: free

This piece was installed in Detroit on October 16, 1986 to honor the great boxer Joe Louis Barrow, aka Joe Louis. It was commissioned by Time Inc. for the city, and measures 24 x 24 x 11.5 feet. It is shaped like an arm with a fist (like a boxer's fist), and there is a tribute to Joe Louis that can be seen carved into the arm. The statue itself weighs a whopping 8,000 pounds and is made out of wire, clay, steel and bronze.

Related: Guide To The Ann Arbor Film Festival


Comerica Park
2100 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201

Price and Hours: varies per game

This nameless Detroit Tigers statue stands guard at the entrance to Comerica Park, as a symbol of our baseball team and its mascot. He is 15 feet tall and is sometimes dressed to support our other local sports teams. In 2008, he dressed in a Red Wings jersey to support the team in the Stanley Cup playoffs, since the Spirit of Detroit was being renovated at the time. Comerica Park replaced Tiger Stadium in 2000, and can seat 41,255 people.

Related: Comerica Park's Tiger Statue: What's in a Name?

The Thinker
(outside of the) Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7900

Price: free

Weighing in at 2,000 pounds and sitting on a 12,000 pound granite base, the Thinker is another of Detroit's most recognizable works of art. It stands (or sits, really) in front of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The statue has been around since 1922 when Horace H. Rackham (who also has a graduate school at UM in his name) donated it to the city after buying it from a German collection. Originally, the Thinker was inside the DIA's Great Hall, but eventually he was moved outside. In 2007, he relocated to the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids for the summer, but was moved back to the DIA at the end of the summer.

Head to CBS Detroit's Best Of page for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food,culture and more!

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

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