The Art of Michigan: Public Displays of Creativity Around the State

Michigan is all about handmade; it’s a state full of homegrown local businesses and artisans who craft beautiful goods and whip up delicious food. So it should come as no surprise that the Mitten state is also home to a lot of inspiring public art.

Not only are the unique artistic attractions fun to check out with friends and family, they are also great for the community: Art beautifies public areas while boosting local economics.

Start taking advantage of all the free, public art around the Great Lakes State with this list of six can’t-miss sites:

  1. Murals in the Market in Detroit: Detroit Design Festival, which took place in September, marked a major overhaul of historic Eastern Market’s walls and buildings, including Murals in the Market. Famous artists from around the nation came to Detroit to redecorate the marketplace’s facade. While the festival has come to an end, the gorgeous murals are now a staple in Detroit.
  2. Summer Night Tree in Jackson: No visit to Jackson is complete without taking in this famed steel structure. The 30-foot-tall abstract sculpture by artist Louise Nevelson is considered an important work of abstract art (it’s made up of overlapping geometric shapes) and has been a part of Jackson’s downtown area since the late 1970s.
  3. Public murals in Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo is “decorated” with dozens of murals scattered around commercial and residential buildings. Many are in plain sight, but some are also placed discreetly. Explore the city and see how many of the hidden artistic gems you can spot.
  4. Lakenenland in Marquette: Lakenenland is a sculpture park created by Tom Lakenen, a welder who discovered he loved making large metal works of art. It is free to the public, open seven days a week and houses more than 80 unique scrap iron sculptures.
  5. Art Prize in Grand Rapids: The 7th annual ArtPrize event always extends past the festival. Many public works can be found remaining throughout the city. Come back next year from September 21 to October 9 2016 to catch new exhibits—many are free to the public!
  6. Inside|Out: Every summer, the Detroit Institute of Arts creates replicas of artwork and scatters them outside around metropolitan Detroit. This year’s works were featured in towns like Grosse Ile, South Lyon, Bay City and Grand Haven. Featured locations for 2016 will be announced soon.

Want to learn more about local art and why experiencing art is so good for you? Check out these blogs:

Photo credit: Matt Taylar

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