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All throughout America, murals can be found on the sides of buildings, highways, and trains. Public art is a great way to reflect the community, honor people, and tell stories of the past. 

The great state of Michigan, otherwise known as the wolverine state, is rich with public works of art. Read on to discover the top 10 must-see murals in Michigan. 

1. JARS x HYPE: Smoke with Pride mural

On September 16, 2022, JARS and HYPE unveiled its collaborative mural with incredible muralist, Joey Salamon, and Chicago duo “Beauty and Brawn,” in downtown Ferndale. Titled “Polychromatic Super You,” the mural is 40×25 ft. 

In the alleyway of 258 W Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale, this amazing work of art will be sure to spark thought and conversation, while bringing a little bit of color to your day.

Aiming to share the love with Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community all year-’round, JARS “Smoke With Pride” campaign is at the heart of this mural, reminding us that cannabis use brings us together in a peaceful and joyful way. Without the support of LGBTQ+ figureheads, it is unlikely we would have access to legal cannabis to this day. 

2. The Detroit Portrait Series

The Detroit Portrait series is an ongoing project that was conceived by prolific, Detroit-born Nicole Macdonald. 

Painted on 10×7 ft panels, these stunning portraits honor hallmark Detroiters of the past like: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and many other people who were community organizers, advocated for workers rights, and believers in the people of Detroit. 

Now they serve both art and function, boarding up the windows of a condemned building.

3. “Detroit Gothic” by Pat Perry

This fantastic mural was painted by 31 year old, Pat Perry, in honor of the two Detroiters it depicts. The style of the mural is similar to “American Gothic” but has a local Detroit flavor and spin. 

In this local news spot, the history behind the man, Charles “Stickman” Hammock and the woman, Naomi Edmunds, in the mural is revealed.

4. Too Many Murals in Flint to Count

The Flint Public Art Project is doing some really amazing public work that is translating into clean water for the city. 

There is a mural map on the website where you can preview which murals are where before visiting them. 

5. Fruits of Her Labor by Nanibah Chacon in Lansing 

Nanibah Chacon hails from Alberquerque, and brings a splash of her artistic flavor as a woman of Native American heritage to Lansing in this incredible mural

6. “Anishinaabek” by Alan Campo

It is a rare opportunity to find yourself walking inside of a mural, but Alan Campo has created this amazing work of art that can be experienced from the inside-out. 

An incredible reminder of the relationship Native Americans share with the land, this mural is lovely ad thought-provoking.

Grand Rapids has a bursting wealth of amazing public art that begs an audience. If you find yourself there for any real amount of time, be sure to look up the guided mural tour.

7.  “shur! Live, Work, Play Better” in Ann Arbor

Omari Rush’s collaboration with Mary Thiefels and Danijel Matanic “shur! Live, Work, Play Better” gets heavily mentioned in online mural searches, and for good reason. 

This enormous work of art is multi-faceted but in a chill and cool way. Your selfie game will be on point, and your artistic perspective will be rejuvenated. 

8. This mining mural in Ishpeming (UP)

Iron ore miners mural in Ishpeming, MI. Locates off of the main mitten part of Michigan, and in the Upper Peninsula, this miners mural nods respectfully to a significant, laborious past.

“What Defines Muskegon” is a gorgeous time capsule painted by award-winning Detroit artist, Dr. Hubert Massey. Coming in at 65×12 feet, the mural began in 2019 and took four years to complete. 

Something that is special about this mural is that it was painted in acrylics and oils in the fresco style by one of the only living fresco artists.

9. Seba Center’s upside down man in Flint

For several years the main narrative that was surrounding Flint was about its bad water. Since then, artists have poured into the city to dedicate their talents to giving the city a fresh coat of paint. 

Seba, 24, from Argentina, painted this amazing mural located at 610 Martin Luther King Ave, on the outside of a local hard-cider brewing company.

Now instead of talking about Flint and its challenge with water, people are forced to talk about all of this concerted effort to make Flint a beautiful place.

Final Thoughts

There are gorgeous murals that color communities in Michigan. Once you tune your eyes into noticing all of the amazing public art, not just in Michigan towns, but in every town, you will have an insatiable appreciation for public art. 

And there you have it! If you happen to be in beautiful Michigan, keep your eyes open for public works of art reflective of the community. 


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