Mass mural project brings color to Detroit park

Robin Buckson
The Detroit News

Put together 500 campers, 600 volunteers, 40 Summer in the City crew members, two artists and one leader and what do you get? Finale Friday, Summer in the City-style.

Aug. 16 marked the 18th year that Summer in the City co-founder Ben Falik has organized a huge, end-of-the-summer mural-painting party combined with fun and food, this one taking place at Doan Playground on Detroit’s west side.

Perhaps the longest mural from end to end ever tackled by the nonprofit volunteering and service organization, this one was coordinated with City Walls, a parks artist residency program of the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.

Artists Phillip Simpson and Lindy Shewbridge, with the help of volunteers, painted designs at each end of the work's epic, rainbow-colored middle section that was designed by Summer in the City crew members and painted by volunteers.

The employees at D-Tech Collision, the business whose wall was covered in color, occasionally came outside to see the progress and witness a much different style of painting than the auto body painting that takes place on the interior side of the wall.

By the end of the day, the ultra-long, colorful mural set off the numerous improvements made by the city to Doan Playground, one of about 40 parks being refurbished.

Falik said, ”Most of the people (at Doan Playground for Finale Friday) get introduced to a neighborhood they might not otherwise see, and leave it a little better than when they got there.”