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Street Art Casts New Light On Struggling Detroit Neighborhood

Grand River Creative Corridor  (8)
(credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

DETROIT (WWJ) - An Urban Art installation along Grand River Ave. in Detroit is drawing a lot of attention.

If you drive north down that road from downtown, you can't miss the Grand River Creative Corridor, a public outdoor display.

Corridor founder Derek Weaver said this neighborhood, a couple of years ago, was profiled in Business Insider as one of the most dangerous high-crime, high-poverty areas of the U.S.

Now, he said, said tours of seniors and students from across the state, and even elsewhere in the country, and have been

Grand River Creative Corridor  (3)
Artwork in the Grand River Creative Corridor(credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

stopping by.

"Implementing public art and street art into this neighborhood can really change the way that people perceive this area," said Grand River Creative Corridor founder Derek Weaver.

So far, 13 buildings have been painted with permission — and there are dozens of free-standing panels sitting, sometimes, in weeded fields.   Some of the works were created by local artists whose pieces have sold for thousands of dollars in traditional galleries.

"Usually a resurgence in place starts with artists, you know," said Detroit born and educated fine artist Christopher Batton, who several installations in the area.

"We're creative; we come up with the ideas, and I think that this is the foundation for the revitalization of the city," he said. "When it's all said and done in the history books, I want to be one of the people responsible, you know, for bringing the city back to its greatness.

Weaver said he's learned to appreciate how difficult this fine art-graffiti mix is to create.

"With a spray-paint can, the type of cap that you use, the consistency of the paint, and how far you are away from the surface you're painting on; and also the speed — there's a lot of technique to it," Weaver said.

Batton said he's proud to be a part of this project. "It makes art accessible to people who wouldn't normally go into galleries or things like that," he said,

WWJ Newsradio 950's Marie Osborne found Bill Yagerlener of West Bloomfield walking through an alley with his camera.

"The term graffiti has gotten sort of a bad name, but when you look at the color and the creativity that goes into these walls, it's just incredibly nice," he said.


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