New murals liven up the city streets of downtown Farmington

With one mural complete and a second nearly done, the public art scene in downtown Farmington has become considerably more vibrant.

Though its her first mural, you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. Local artist Mackenzie Harthun has finished her mural on the side of The Vines Flower and Garden Shop, a colorful array of flowers befitting a florist.

Michele Hinds owns and operates The Vines. The building has long stood out along the street due to its purple paint job but Hinds had the building painted a more neutral color earlier this summer.

But she believes that the mural makes her building even more noticeable now.

"This building was always purple and when we repainted it I think people were a little bummed. Local photography studios used the purple building as a backdrop. But I think it will get even more attention now. Already people are coming by and taking lots of photos," says Hinds.

"I’ve been here 12 years and it was purple when I moved in. But it was peeling and time for a facelift."

The mural in progress on Sunflour BakehausThe second mural to go up is from artist MaryLou Stillwagon Stropoli. Her colorful and playful depiction of the downtown  streetscape adorns the side of Sunflour Bakehaus. Nearly complete, the finishing touches could be applied as soon as this Labor Day weekend.

In August, the murals and their artists received a helping hand from Farmington students, who helped paint and also held an art fair for their own works during the city’s first ever Art in Action event.

The murals, like all public art, liven up the city streets.

"I like driving in Detroit and seeing all the art," Hinds says. "I always thought it would be nice to have more of that in little suburban communities like ours."

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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