Back Alley Beauty (Originally written 1-31-15)
Passing through the alley that runs behind the Z parking garage, a casual observer might think that they had stumbled into an outdoor art gallery. A canopy of twinkling lights hang like stars overhead, glistening off of shiny black tiling and illuminating stretch after stretch of over a dozen beautifully painted murals lining the alley's walls that add culture and style to the cityscape.
Christened "The Belt" by its organizers the Library Street Collectors and Bedrock Real Estate, the alley turns what was once a dark and nondescript area into a bright splash of color, light and life. It's perfectly visible from the side street and offers a unique Downtown experience..
“The Belt creates the ultimate experience for people who come downtown and check out something you can’t get anywhere else,” said Dan Mullen, vice president of leasing and development for Bedrock Real Estate. “It’s one big public art piece.”
The Belt is a collaboration of pieces from local artists, professional workshops, and schools including the students from Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences. The students completed one of the murals with the help of graffiti artist Jordan Nickel, better known as Pose.
“It’s by the public for the public,” said Nickel. "It's going to be a huge hangout, something you can only get in Detroit."
Alley renovation has become a hot project in Downtown Detroit. The "Green" alley that runs next to Canfield street is almost completed, and two more alleys are undergoing construction. Pedestrians enjoy The Belt for its wild array of art and beautiful, fun atmosphere.
"It really shows what a great city Detroit is becoming," said city resident Micheal Davis. "It's pretty. I proposed to my girlfriend here.."
Summer plans for The Belt include food trucks, live music events and an open bar as well as fundraisers to help support similar projects..