Photo essay: The murals of Monroe

The seeds have been planted all over Monroe. 

In the past year or so, more than a dozen murals have been painted on the brick walls of churches, schools and other buildings in Monroe. Even a pizzeria. They've been painted on wooden fences and on the cement floor of an outdoor basketball court. One mural is even visible to motorists along Interstate 75. 

“We are aiming to be the change that we would like to see in our community, and the seed with which will blossom young creatives to continue the growth of arts and culture in our region,” says Woodrow Hoffer, the creative force behind the art mural initiative called Plntng Seeds.

The goal of Plntng Seeds is to bring art to the city’s public spaces and inspire young people in and around Monroe to follow their “purpose of creativity.”

Six murals were painted last summer. This summer seven more murals were created, tapping the talents of a diverse group of artists. That last mural was completed just days ago.  

We sent Monroe native and photographer Christopher Slat to capture some of these murals, which represent the largest display of public art in Monroe's history.

"The purpose of the project is to incorporate art into citizens' everyday lives, so when possible I tried to capture the surroundings -- a slice of life -- that would communicate how people will pass by and perceive the art in actual practice," Slat says. "Many photos I have seen on this project highlight the artistry of the murals, but the way they fit into the community is just as important to the organizers' and artists' intentions."

Detroit artist Rick Williams, co-owner of Distinct Life, a creative agency focused on brand development and storytelling, painted his mural on the exterior walls of the Monroe Community Ambulance building.
Born and raised in Monroe, Tony Wavy is an artist, rapper and entrepreneur. His mural can be found at Selma Rankins Jr. Community Gardens.A Detroit artist known as Ouizi (Louise Jones) created her mural of flowers and butterflies on the north wall of Tiffany's Pizza.
Ijania Cortez, a fine artist living and working in Detroit, often depicts inner-city black men in her work. She created this mural on the exterior wall of Trifecta Designs Inc.Australian artist George Rose, known for her large-scale mural and vibrant color palettes, painted this mural at the Logan Charles Salon. Monroe artist Presley Bergmooser helped with the abstract mural.Detroit artist Tony Whlgn transformed the basketball court at Hellenberg Park.Local artist Amy Arnold created this large mural with the help of local residents at the Sharing Garden at the Opportunity Center at Arthur Lesow Community Center.
Dom Laporte's “Beyond The Current” pays tribute to the significance of water to the Monroe community. Laporte's mural can be seen from Interstate 75.

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