A celebration of public art and pollinators: New Ouizi mural goes up in Rochester

What’s happening: The work of Detroit-based artist Louise “Ouizi” Jones can be found all over the country and even on the other side of the world, her large-scale floral murals adorning the walls of businesses, museums, and public parks from Detroit’s West Village to Hawaii, across the seas to New Zealand and China, and back home again. Her latest creation can be found a little closer to home at Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester, adding a bit of color to a building known otherwise as the “Gray Block Building.” There’s a good chance they’ll have to come up with a new name for that one.

What it is: Her latest mural had Jones painting a scene of Black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, and blades of grass, with tiger swallowtails, monarch butterflies, hummingbird moths, and bees fluttering about. That the mural features so many pollinators was no accident; the mural was commissioned by Rochester’s City Beautiful Commission and inspired by one of their subcommittees, the Rochester Pollinators. The mural both adds to city beautification efforts and reminds passers-by about our important pollinator friends.

Why it’s important: “I have learned from the Rochester Pollinators that pollinator populations are declining, one-third of our food supply is dependent on pollinators, and they are vital to our local ecosystems,” says Rachel Williams, chair of the City Beautiful Commission. “The subject of the mural is Michigan native plants and pollinators, reflecting our initiatives this year to help our environment, including creating a native plant garden at the Paint Creek Bridge and supporting the incredible work of the Rochester Pollinators.”

[Click HERE to learn how another metro Detroit community is joining the fight to save our pollinators.]

A celebration: A ribbon-cutting ceremony including light refreshments is planned at the mural site at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 20. The site, the old “Gray Block Building,” is found in the northwest corner of Rochester Municipal Park. The event is free and open to the public.

What they’re saying: “I am proud to work with the City Beautiful Commission to bring this mural to Rochester,” says Amanda Harrison, a member of the Rochester City Council. “I believe this work of art contributes to our community's identity, facilitates a sense of pride in residents, and celebrates the significant role pollinators play in our ecosystem.”

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