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What Detroit songs should be included on artwork at the Cass Avenue bridge over I-94?

An MDOT poster with an artist's rendering of the project planned at the Cass Avenue overpass at I-94 in Detroit.
Michigan Department of Transportation
An MDOT poster with an artist's rendering of the project planned at the Cass Avenue overpass at I-94 in Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is offering a survey for people to choose the songs to be used as part of a sculpture. The art work, "Sounds of Detroit," will be part of the new Cass Avenue bridge over I-94 in Detroit and MDOT wants your help.

“To identify ten songs that can be put along a sculpture that will reflect the culture and the history of the city of Detroit,” said Rob Morosi with the Department of Transportation.

The lyrics of the most popular songs will be laser cut into the artwork.

“We are asking the public to choose five songs that were recorded at United Sound Systems Recording Studios nearby Cass Avenue and then five other songs that were recorded by native Detroiters,” he added.

As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported in 2019, the studio came close to being demolished.

"The United Sound Systems studio is where John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, and Parliament were just a few of the legendary acts to make records.

Operating since 1939, it’s the oldest recording studio in Detroit. But it was in danger of demolition because it sits in the footprint of a huge I-94 reconstruction project.

Now the Michigan Department of Transportation says it has bought the studio and adjacent parking lot for $1.7 million, and plans to move the studio, intact, onto the parking lot site."

You can find that story below this report.

The "Sounds of Detroit" sculpture was designed with the Cliff Garten Studio and is intended to be a gathering place on Cass Avenue when the project is complete.

“We had some public forums and it really came out that people wanted to identify with music and culture in the city of Detroit. That’s how we came up with this idea,” Morosi said.

You can find a link to the survey here.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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