Sterling Heights

Photo Essay: Street art brightens Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights is now the home of several public murals, adding some color to commuters and pedestrians around the city.

On the south-facing wall of the Utica BP gas station local artist Wendy Popko has installed a mural of a bear and her cub, representing the Marshall Fredrick sculpture in front of the Sterling Heights Public Library. Commissioned by the city, Popko says the bears represent family, the wavy lines represent the Clinton River that runs throughout this city, and the globe in the center represents Sterling Heights’ cultural diversity.

Sterling Heights graphic designer and artist Kelly Gray won a mural design contest to have her work displayed on this exterior wall of the Sterling Heights Public Library. Her illustration of children reading inside a giant bookshelf was unveiled in June and actually painted by installation artist Elton Monroy Duran.

The city commissioned mural artist Louise Jones, known as Ouizi, to design the wall and anchor posts along the Dodge Park Trail under the M-53 underpass. Based out of Detroit, Ouizi has floral mural artwork all over the country and world and her unique style adds color to many commuters day.


While the illegal graffiti on the wall of the pedestrian tunnel below M-59 in downtown Utica is often deemed a blight, and has seen a police crackdown in the last few years, more than one artist has tried their hand at creativity there.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Kate Roff.

Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at