High art: New Pride-inspired mural unveiled in downtown Ferndale

What’s happening: A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the unveiling of downtown Ferndale’s latest work of public art. “Polychromatic Super You” is the latest mural from Michigan-based artist Joey Salamon and can be found in the alley at 258 W. Nine Mile Rd. in downtown Ferndale.

What it is: The 40 ft. by 25 ft. “Polychromatic Super You” was commissioned by JARS Cannabis and HYPE Cannabis to celebrate and support Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. The cannabis retailers have partnered on their Smoke with Pride campaign, which benefits Detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center, a safe space and support services center for the region’s at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. As part of the initiative, 10 percent of all proceeds from HYPE products purchased at a JARS retail location will be donated to the center; 100 percent of the JARS x HYPE Smoke with Pride Kit proceeds will also be donated. The companies also encourage donating directly to the Ruth Ellis Center itself.

“Polychromatic Super You” in the alley at 258 W. Nine Mile Rd. in downtown Ferndale. (Photo: Joey Salamon)
What they’re saying: “JARS Cannabis is thrilled to have the opportunity to unveil this incredible Pride-inspired mural to the Ferndale community,” says JARS Cannabis Marketing Director, Stefanie Michels. “Recognizing the intertwining history between cannabis and the LGBTQ+ community, it is our hope that ‘Polychromatic Super You’ will serve to spark important conversations that surround the two counterculture movements, as well as encourage mural visitors to continue to donate, support, and share the love with Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community all year-'round.”

Art & Tech: A QR code is attached to the “Polychromatic Super You” mural, where visitors can scan the code with a smartphone. From there, they can learn about the Smoke with Pride initiative, access resources, and donate to the Ruth Ellis Center.

[Related: Read “Street art festival aims to establish Detroit as a destination for augmented reality murals” on Model D.]

Artist Joey Salamon. (Photo: Royce Lasalle Redmond)Why it’s important: “It's always an extra bonus when I get to create artwork with the main intent to showcase LGBTQ+ representation. For companies such as JARS and HYPE to invest in projects like this, it not only adds visibility, but it helps to create a connection to the community,” says the artist Joey Salamon. “For them to hire me for this specific project and give me free rein on design, it not only shows their trust in my process, but it also shows their openness to having a queer artist freely express themselves without restrictions on something that is not only personal to me but also to many others in Ferndale and beyond.”

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