The Arts Alliance: Murals are Multiplying in our Municipalities

From the Arts Alliance

Murals not only create a dynamic and place-making contribution to the city landscape, but also create a sense of community and civic pride for its residents. We are loving the bold and beautiful colors that are now taking over building walls across downtown Ann Arbor!

“We want to celebrate our local arts community, inspire our residents, make something beautiful in our community and motivate travelers to visit the Ann Arbor area,” said Mary Kerr, President & CEO of Destination Ann Arbor of “The Challenge Everything. Create Anything” mural her organization commissioned. “We believe we can utilize our local artists like no destination has done before, creating vibrant works of art that capture the unique attitude and voice of Ann Arbor – and give something back.”

“We love the impact that will be created as so many people—locals and visitors— experience this artwork,” says Larry Nisson, member of the Art in Public Committee at the Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC). “When a community is engaged in public art, it’s a sign of deep resilience. Public art uncovers different aspects of how we thrive together.” 

Jesse Kassel Mural
The Pretzel Bell Building, 120 East Liberty Street, AA. Commissioned by the Art in Public Committee at the AA Art Center with support from Ed Shaffran

Nisson found a project partner for the mural in the building’s owner, Edward Shaffran. A real estate professional devoted to downtown Ann Arbor’s history and future, Shaffran said, “The mural is a great way to demonstrate that creativity is one of our community’s most enduring and valuable public assets.”

Muralist Jessie Kassel, whose work has been exhibited locally and internationally, takes inspiration from vintage advertisements and graphic design. “I am drawn to projects like this one that unite a rich cultural context with a historic façade,” Kassel said. “The design for this mural is inspired by Ann Arbor’s culture, amenities and history.”