Anti-Graffiti Project Reaches Huge Milestone In Detroit

Local artists hired to paint murals instead of graffiti in Detroit neighborhoods

Ron Dewey
October 18, 2019 - 12:16 pm

(credit: Ron Dewey/WWJ)

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Detroit (WWJ) - The City of Detroit reached a milestone in its mural program, removing the 100-thousandth graffiti from under a bridge in Midtown Thursday.

Local mural artist Sheefy McFly has been part of the City Walls Project and wants to be an advocate for artists like him to do similar work instead of doing illegal graffiti. 

Speaking to those artists in the community McFly said, "... you can become a professional muralist." "Help beautify your city instead of defacing the city," he added. 

The project had a challenging moment back in July, when McFly, whose real name is Tashif Turner, didn't have a permit on him while painting a mural and it landed him in jail for the night. "It's crazy to be painting something for the city and get arrested for it," McFly told WWJ. "If the police didn't know me then, they know me now."

City crews painted over the graffiti on the Holden viaduct over the Lodge Freeway where the 45th mural under the program is planned to be painted by McFly. 

Zak Meers is the manager of City Walls program that started five years ago intended to encourage graffiti artists to use their talent for good. The goal is to reduce repeat graffiti with murals while encouraging local talent to express their creativity legally.

"We want to make connections with the community and highlight and beautify and empower local Detroit artists to have a platform to showcase their art because we have so much talent here ...," said Meers.

He adds that the program conserves resources by avoiding constantly repainting the same areas.