Detroit teams up with art technology startup to track city’s murals

Love Detroit’s ever-growing and evolving murals but aren’t always sure where you saw what or how to track them? A new app will help with that.

On Wednesday, Detroit’s office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship announced a new partnership with art technology company CANVS to identify all of the art on the city’s walls and eventually create a digital map on the city’s website. An app, Canvs Interactive Street Art, also will allow residents, tourists and other “mural hunters” to use their smartphones to identify specific murals and the artist.

“When art becomes more accessible, it allows people to better connect with the city,” said Lorren Cargill, co-founder of CANVS. “’The Girl With the D Earring’ – 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.”

Detroit has an ever expanding mix of bold, statement-making murals, from Sydney James’ “The Girl With the D Earring” on East Grand Boulevard to Desiree Kelly’s mural inspired by her young daughter at Meijer Rivertown Market.

James also organized the city’s first ever BLKOUT Walls mural festival last summer that brought in nearly two dozen artists from all over the country to paint murals in Detroit’s North End.

Artist and 'BLKOUT Walls' mural festival co-organizer  Sydney James works on the eyes of her mural on Oakland Avenue near Smith Street in Detroit.  
Artists begin works for the 'BLKOUT Walls' mural festival in the city's north end in Detroit, Michigan on July 20, 2021.

The CANVS initiative is co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation and is part of ACE’s contribution to Mayor Duggan’s Blight to Beauty campaign.

The app will allow “mural hunters” to not only track art in the city — a map pinpoints murals already identified by other users — but also learn about the artists behind each one.

"The Girl With the D Earring," on the Chroma Office Space & Coworking building, 2937 E Grand Blvd., by Detroit artist Sydney James, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

To download the app, go to wherever you purchase apps and search for “Canvs Street Art.”

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