Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Michigan Wildlife Council partner with local muralist
to showcase 8 species of Michigan-managed wildlife
DETROIT — In coming weeks, Detroiters and others traversing the Dequindre Cut Greenway might spot some new wildlife along the way in the form of unique artwork by a local muralist commissioned by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Michigan Wildlife Council.
Detroit-based artist and muralist Ed Irmen will spend the next several weeks painting eight panels of Michigan-managed wildlife on a mural located roughly in the 1800 block of Lafayette Street near where it intersects with St. Aubin Street along the Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban recreational path that opened to the public along the riverfront in 2009.
“Our partnership with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC) unites the mutual goals of our two organizations to increase awareness of the important work being done to preserve and enhance outdoor space,” said Nick Buggia, chair of the Michigan Wildlife Council (MWC). “All Michiganders — whether in urban, suburban or rural communities — have a stake in wildlife management and protecting the outdoors.”
Buggia added, “Wildlife management plays a critical role in Michigan and the mural will remind those enjoying the natural beauty along the Detroit Riverfront of the collaborative effort it takes to protect wildlife and preserve our out-of-doors space.”
“Ed Irmen’s art illustrates the beauty that lies in the balance when we protect the natural world and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation by connecting with nature to promote physical and mental well-being,” said Rachel Frierson, senior director of programs and space for the DRFC, who called the project a “perfect pairing of riverfront connectivity and conservation consciousness.”
“The greenway is all about connecting the riverfront to neighborhoods and that mission extends to highlighting the link we all have to nature, wildlife and our natural surroundings,” Frierson said. “When you consider that the Dequindre Cut has long been known for its urban artwork and graffiti, combining wildlife art with conservation awareness along the greenway makes sense.”
Irmen, an outdoors enthusiast celebrated for his artwork of birds and other species, will paint his mural on a cement wall that once served as part of the support structure of a railway bridge for the former Grand Trunk Railroad line. The first panel, depicting a sturgeon, has been completed. The next three panels will feature a porcupine, pheasant and monarch butterflies.
The final four species will remain under wraps until the unveiling of the completed work at the DRFC’s annual Detroit Harvest Fest and Food Truck Rally on the Dequindre Cut Greenway, which takes place Oct. 7 and 8.
At the completion of the project, Harvest Fest attendees will have an opportunity to add their personal touch in frames around each portrait to illustrate their connection with wildlife, conservation and the outdoors.