The Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is leading an effort to set strategic priorities for incorporating public art installations and experiences in the downtown district to further economic prosperity and the vibrancy of the downtown while strengthening community cohesion and connectivity.
The DDA desired to engage the community in sharing perspectives and ideas to develop a public art blueprint to guide the effort and implement special public art projects. Community stakeholder meetings were held to define project goals and priorities and an online community survey gathered individual input for this public art initiative. This project has been led by the DDA in collaboration with consultant partners Creative Many Michigan and Beckett Raeder, Inc. with technical assistance funding and facilitation support from Main Street Oakland County and the National Main Street Center and the Public Art Blueprint was finalized in April 2017. Download the Public Art Blueprint.
At the beginning of 2018, the DDA created a Public Art Committee to execute the goals and priorities outlined in the Public Art Blueprint. The committee also seeks out new opportunities and facilitates public art partnerships within and around Farmington. Since its inception, the committee has launched an outdoor sculpture exhibit, mural project, facilitated live art installations, and is currently coordinating several other partner initiatives. Public Art Committee members include: Todd Craft, Rachel Gallagher, Dwayne Hayes, Cathi Waun, Claire Perko, Suzanna Smentowski, Mary Lou Stropoli, Jaki Zani
Heart The Art
Annual Public Art Event
February’s Heart the Art was created with the idea to connect local businesses and residents with the DDA’s Public Art Blueprint. Last year’s engagement allowed local businesses and residents to share their feedback on upcoming projects. As a result, two new murals were installed in the city over the summer.
Public art can inspire hope, create unity and solidify our sense of community. We’ve worked together through this pandemic to support each other. How we adapt and continue on will define us.
Art has the power to share that message, to communicate a sense of hope and optimism. It catches your eye, makes your think, even inspires you to take action. That’s why we ask for the members of this community to share their ideas for future public art projects. Our goal: to encourage the community to help decide on future public art installations. What would you like to see visualized in art? Click here to send us your ideas.
Public Art Projects in Downtown Farmington
Ken ThomPSON Sculpture Exhibit
The Farmington Downtown Development Authority has partnered with sculptor Ken Thompson to exhibit seven of his sculptures in Riley Park through Spring 2023 . These sculptures are part of a larger project to program public art in and around the Farmington community as outlined in the DDA’s Public Art Blueprint.
Ken Thompson holds a Master of Liberal Studies in Sculpture from the University of Toledo and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from Siena Heights College (University), Adrian, Michigan. Ken has been making sculpture since 1978 out of a former car dealership now turned studio in Blissfield, Michigan. From this facility, he and his assistants also operate Flatlanders Sculpture Supply & Art Galleries and the Midwest Sculpture Initiative. Ken is well versed in bronze casting and metal fabrication but prefers stone carving.
The major focus of Ken’s work since 1997 has been on large scale public sculpture with installations across the country. All told, Ken has completed well over 50 large-scale public sculptures. Ken is the mastermind behind Midwest Sculpture Initiative, a firm in Blissfield, MI, that provides curation, installation and maintenance for municipalities and non-profit community development organizations. While Downtown Farmington is fortunate to showcase Thompson's own work, his firm represents many Michigan artists.
In addition to making large sculptures, Ken enjoys doing smaller scale work for gallery exhibitions. He has twenty-six one person shows, numerous group exhibitions, as well as, many awards to his credit.
The DDA Public Art Committee is using this project to grow the Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, attract artists and art enthusiasts, build community partnerships, and develop a strong public art presence in Farmington.
John Martin Mural
The Public Art Committee launched a mural project in the spring of 2018 jurying submissions from several local artists. John Martin, Farmington Hills artist in residence, was chosen by the committee to create a piece unique to the community. The committee asked artists to submit murals designs under the theme “Cultivating Community” in reference to the City of Farmington. Participating artists were encouraged to use the local neighborhood and culture as inspiration for their design, which is highly apparent in John Martin's design pictured below. This first mural, 8' by 36', was installed in December 2018 on the north elevation of the CVS building at Farmington Road and State Street, where it greets visitors with a colorful statement of local culture
Faces of Farmington Sculpture
By Doug Delind, 2019
Downtown Farmington held an interactive booth at 2019's ART on the GRAND with artist Doug Delind. The public had the opportunity to press and design individual clay tiles, which the artist Doug Delind will use to inspire and include within a totemic public art installation for Downtown Farmington. The finished piece, Faces of Farmington, was developed with a small footprint and five foot tall slim profile, to make it accessible to the downtown businesses who rotate stewardship in displaying the piece within their store or business. The sculpture is clad in Raku tile, suitable for indoor installation only. The concept is to bring public art to downtown patrons in their familiar shopping and dining habitat.
Farmington Civic Theater Mural
By Adrienne Pickett, 2019
To commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Farmington Civic Theater, this colorful installation on the rear east elevation of the city's 1940 Art Moderne theater, pays tribute to icons of the silver screen from a range of decades.
The Vines Mural
By Mac Harthun, 2020
Sunflour Bakehaus Mural
By Mary Lou Stropoli, 2020
Public Art in Downtown Farmington Overview