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Artpod: Murals brighten streets, bring pride to Detroit neighborhood

On today's podcast, we hear how an artist in Detroit wants to bring color to the city with his brush strokes.


Artists in Seattle and Philadelphia who have been painting large murals on abandoned buildings in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods. Philadelphia for example, has around two-thousand murals to help brighten the city.

Reporter Emily Fox introduces us to Chazz Miller and his non-profit organization, Public Art Workz. Fox says Miller is taking a cue from Seattle and Philadelphia artists; Miller is on a mission to revitalize the Detroit neighborhood of Old Redford by painting murals across the city:

“You want to create a place and a sense of place and that’s how you start rebuilding a community with your art because now with that care people feel like ‘okay someone’s taking pride, someone cares about this neighborhood, maybe I’m willing to invest’ so now we have over 5 new businesses that opened up in this immediate area."

Still, not everyone's convinced. Paul Bologna has been working in Old Redford since the late 1950s.  He says thousands of kids used to come from the suburbs to watch movies at the historic Redford Theater while their parents shopped at the many businesses that lined the street. He says Miller's murals make the town "better than it used to be," but Bologna doesn't believe the murals will be enough to get the town back to "where it was before."

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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