Cities of Detroit and Philadelphia partner to host National Street Art Summit Event to be held in conjunction with nationally renowned BlkOutWalls Festival
Detroit and Philadelphia, cities named by USA Today and a panel of judges as the Top Ten Cities in America with beautiful street art, are partnering to host a National Street Art Summit in Detroit on September 8, 2023.
The summit, which is being held in conjunction with the nationally renowned BLKOUT Walls mural festival, will bring arts leaders from the Top Ten cities in 2022 and 2023 to have a conversation about the rising mural movement in America, what cities are doing to encourage mural art, what cities can learn from each other and what ideas can be exchanged to make life easier for the artists. Philadelphia is No. 1 and Detroit is No. 5 on the 2023 list.
The Summit is slated for 3 p.m. Friday, September 8 at the Wayne County Community College District’s Curtis L. Ivery Downtown Campus, 1001 West Fort Street. WCCCD, a partner on the summit, will host an entrepreneurial workshop for students and emerging artists the day before the summit. Top Ten Cities guests will take a mural tour of Detroit street art the day after the summit.
“Murals, as an art form, are not just being accepted, but are being celebrated in America,” said Rochelle Riley, Detroit’s director of Arts and Culture. “We are thrilled to partner with Mural Arts Philadelphia to continue to make the creative arts a part of any conversation about what is making cities better and more beautiful.”
Jane Golden of Mural Arts Philadelphia, agreed.
"Public art is a powerful medium that can transform urban spaces and fuel social change," said Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. "This partnership between Detroit and Philadelphia emphasizes the vital role that creativity plays in our cities, while opening up new opportunities for muralists nationwide. Together, we're pushing forward the conversation on mural art and its potential to beautify, inspire, and empower communities."
The conversation will occur on the eve of BLKOUT Walls, the national festival conceived by celebrated artists Sydney James of Detroit, Thomas “Detour” Evans of Denver and Max Sansing of Chicago in response to their shared history of participating in mural festivals with no remuneration for participating artists and with limited racial diversity. The trio kicked off the brand in Detroit in 2021. https://www.blkoutwalls.com/
Detroit has undertaken a citywide effort to bring beautiful murals to neighborhoods across the city, all part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s Blight to Beauty campaign. The campaign involves multiple city departments, including the Planning and Development Department, the Department of Public Works and City Walls, a division of the General Services Department’s anti-blight unit, which paints over hundreds of thousands of yards of graffiti across the city and replaces some of the blank spaces with beautiful murals.
The City is documenting every map in the city on the Detroit Mural Map, which was launched in 2022 and is connected to an app that lets users identify murals on site. More than 500 murals live on the site now. The map can be found at detroitartsandculture.com.