Spotlight on The Public Art Project located on Woodward Avenue and Maplehurst, in Ferndale, MI. The project is currently in danger of being ousted by the landlord of the billboard space in lieu of an advertisement for a local barber shop.
The pedestrian-level billboard at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Maplehurst in Ferndale has provided a unique venue for artists to exhibit large-scale, site-specific work on metro Detroit’s busiest road for nearly twenty years.
The pedestrian-level billboard at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Maplehurst in Ferndale has provided a unique venue for artists to exhibit large-scale site-specific work on metro Detroit’s busiest road for nearly twenty years. The Public Art Project presents intriguing and challenging installations by artists from across the country. Past installations have been included in Mass MoCA's Billboard: Art on the Move, MIT Press, 1999, and Dennis Nawrocki's Art in Detroit Public Places, Wayne State University Press, 1999 and 2008, as well as countless local publications. Measuring seven feet high and twenty-three feet wide, The Public Art Project’s billboard is visible to thousands of motorists and pedestrians each day, providing a free, ever-changing art installation to a massive audience.
The Public Art Project has recently posted on its Facebook Page that they've offered to pay rent to the Owner of the billboard space. They've also stated that they've had funding in place to demo the existing, rotted billboard and build a new one; as well as other initiatives. After waiting for the landlord and the City of Ferndale to determine the fate of the art project they have recently received word from the landlord that she prefers to move forward with advertising for Steve's Barber Shop in that location instead of allowing The Public Art Project to continue.
Many feel that putting an end to The Public Art Project will ultimately be a loss for the community of Ferndale, as well as the community at large. The public art installations not only provide diverse, and visually dynamic art compositions, but a richly imaginative and artistic presences to the Woodward street corner.
The Installations have garnered quite a following in the local art community. On hearing the news that the project will likely be discontinued, one fan is quoted as saying, "Wow - VERY sad....I actually looked at the installations there - now it will become invisible to me, like every other billboard on the planet. I can also honestly say I have *never* chosen a hair-care venue - or any product or service - based on billboard advertising."
"The City does not want to lose this asset, but ultimately the decision rests with the building's owner and, less directly, Steve's Barber Shop. Stay tuned." -The Public Art Project