Viranel Clerard has created an archive of over 1,000 murals and 300 sculptures.
Detroit Mural Project is an online guide to Detroit's murals and sculptures, the archive housing more than 1,000 and 300 listings respectively. Search by artist, location or year, and you'll be offered a photo of the mural and available information like who commissioned the work and within which district it lives. Viranel Clerard is the mind behind the project, which started as a city guide for his Ann Arbor friends but has since evolved into an agent for art-conscious Detroiters. "I just figured a lot of Detroiters don't realize all the art that's in their environment," he says.
Clerard's plan is to introduce art to city youth in an approachable way. He's been applying for grants with the hope of starting an internship program geared toward Detroit Public Schools high schoolers. "I think that young black youth need to understand the importance of art, art appreciation and art history. And this is a very non-intimidating way to do that." He adds, "When I'm at an art show, it's really like a black dot on a white wall."
Criteria for a new mural to be added to the database require that the work be on a publicly-accessible exterior wall, not self-promotional (no graffiti tags), legal and it must be non-commercial, so no ads or business promos. "It has to be artwork that – in my opinion – gives to a community more than it takes from it," he says. Clerard says he wants DMP to become a leading resource for schools, a tourists' tool and a site that artistic young people share amongst themselves. "Even if I don't ever know about it, I hope that it becomes something they use to explore their own city."