Detroit Murals Can Soon be Accessed with an App

Detroit Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship (ACE) announced it is partnering with CANVS, an art technology company, to identify all the art on the city’s walls.
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Residents and tourists will soon be able to find and identify Detroit wall murals through a new app. // Courtesy of the City of Detroit
Residents and tourists will soon be able to find and identify Detroit wall murals through a new app. // Courtesy of the City of Detroit

Detroit Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship (ACE) announced it is partnering with CANVS, an art technology company, to identify all the art on the city’s walls.

The ACE initiative will both identify all the murals to honor some of the city’s best artists who are transforming the city with color and beauty and launch an app that will allow residents and tourists to use their smartphones to identify the mural and artist in front of them.

In making the announcement, Rochelle Riley, director of arts and culture for Detroit, and her team were joined by Tashif Turner, aka Sheefy McFly; Ralph Andre, co-founder of CANVS; Sam Coons, ACE’s program manager for neighborhood arts development; and Zachary Meers, director of Detroit’s City Walls fellowship program that hires artists to do specific murals and recently completed its 100th mural.

The CANVS initiative is co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation.

To better connect residents to murals, CANVS will create a digital map on the ACE City web page to allow users to create tours of similar murals or find murals they have seen, but do not remember where. The initiative is one of several that ACE is planning as part of the mayor’s Blight to Beauty campaign.

“When art becomes more accessible, it allows people to better connect with the city,” says Lorren Cargill, co-founder of the start-up. “The Girl with the D earring (by artist Sydney James along East Grand Blvd. between Woodward Avenue and I-75) — people know that now. We’re all a part of that context-setting. Once people find the murals and learn about the artists, they’re able to connect with different parts of the city and know Detroit’s artists.”

Cargill says he visited the North End, where CANVS loaded the murals from James’ BlkOutWalls Festival. “I had a good time there with all those murals. That place is in my mind now. I have stories there. I met people who live there. Street art allows you do that across Detroit.”

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