Madison Heights Arts Board completes first commissioned mural, makes it to finals of city awards

Fresh off the completion of their first mural project, the Madison Heights Arts Board now has even more reason to celebrate.

The Arts Board has made it to the Final Four round of the Michigan Municipal League’s 2019 Community Excellence Awards, the most prestigious of the organization’s honors. The award recognizes Michigan communities for their commitment to innovative development and placemaking projects and policies.

The Arts Board is one of four organizations to have made it past the initial round of 17 communities vying for the top honor. They had to make it past a panel of judges and an online public voting process to do so.

"It really shows the pride we have as a community and in our city," says Madison Heights city manager Melissa Marsh.

"Residents really came together to vote. We saw a lot of activity online and on social media."

The Arts Board helped organize the fundraising efforts needed for the mural project. Located on the shelter at Civic Center Park, the colorful mural, The Power of Imagination, is the work of artist and Madison Heights resident Jennifer Ramirez.

It could be the start of a city-wide trend. Marsh says that the board is looking to commission more murals throughout the city, and even create a mural district along the John R corridor, calling it the John aRt Walk.

The board has performed beautification efforts and hosted fundraisers and continues to do so. Programming, like a recent forum on women in art, will also grow in size and scope.

It’s a lot to have accomplished since the Arts Board was first proposed in 2017. It’s why they’re currently in the running for this year’s Community Excellence Award.

Marsh says that the Arts Board has inspired and energized other boards throughout the city, too.

"It’s a very active board with lots of energy," she says. "It’s become infectious throughout the whole city."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

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