Street Art 2

In keeping with the spirit of my first foray – inspired by Sheree at View from the Back – I took a daytrip to Marine City, Michigan. Until recently, a ferry ran between it and Sombra, Ontario, Canada. (A recent update on the plight of the Canadian ferry service is here.) It remains a pretty riverside city that’s grown even lovelier thanks to imaginative citizens.

It’s home to the Snug Theatre and the Riverbank Theatre (a repurposed bank) and good restaurants. It’s an integral part of both The Bridge to Bay Trail and the paddlers-pleasing Blueways of St Clair. Most of its street art is on the main drag.

Local firefighters are remembered in a memorial park quite close to the sidewalk.
One of the mosaic plaques recalling the city’s maritime past. According to Great Lakes historiography, Marine City was once the largest ship-building community on the Lakes.

On the riverside, it’s impossible to separate art from landscaping. Here’s the entrance to River Park aka the Civic Women’s Club Park. The club dolled it up a little with cornstalks and gourds.

Turn into the park, and you’ll find a sitting area centered around a mature tree. The art is an accent; the river and its environs are the focal point.

The sunny benches near the water beckon.

The mural below always makes me smile – not just because it’s one of my favorite places for Sunday brunch. When the owners renovated the restaurant, they let its original mural of Peche Island Range Lighthouse play peek-a-boo with passersby.

On the inland side of the street, there’s a mix of commercial art and storefront displays.

Reflected in the window below is the Peche Island Rear Range Light, which has a rather interesting history. It’s named after Peche Island or Isle aux Pêches (French for “Fisheries Island”), which is a Canadian island located where the Detroit River meets Lake St. Clair. It always tickled me that a beat-up old lighthouse moved upriver to “land” in Marine City.

Below is art on the side of Marine City Music & Collectibles. It looks every better in person, up close.

The marque on the Mariner theater is a new addition done in the style of the ’20s. Can you tell where the new blends with the old on the building? Me, neither! If you’re wondering about the Titanic Exhibit, that’s a permanent feature. It centers on a 1:48 scale builder’s model of the RMS Titanic which the owner “brought home” after it went around the world (including London and the National Geographic Society’s Explorer’s Hall).

There is more, but I will end with two sculptures from near the Marine City Fish Company.

Street Art 1

Sheree at View from the Back posted an interesting set of photos of Street Art (Murals, Graffiti, 3D Grafitti, Poster art, Sticker art, Sculptures and Sidewalk Chalk art). I wanted to follow suit because I enjoy statuary and decorative arts.

When I first moved the Bluewater Area, I was surprised that even small towns have public art. Algonac, a city of about four thousand, hosts an art fair on the waterfront. It also boasts seasonal displays.

The oldest statue is the Civil War Memorial, located between the boat launch and the ferry to Canada (which is, if I recall, the smallest border crossing between the US and Canada).

The original Civil War memorial was updated to include Armed Forces flags and Missing in Action (MIA) remembrances.
Ojibwe (Otchipwe)/English addition to the War Memorial.

Most street art reflects the importance of the waterway to life and industry.

The Garfield Arthur Wood memorial celebrates the inventor and industrialist who also was the first to travel over 100 miles per hour on water. Chris-Craft Boats was born here, a joint enterprise by Christopher Columbus Smith and “Gar” Wood. The white building behind it started as a doctor’s house, hosted the original public library, and currently serves as the historical museum.

Another statue depicts past and present navigators of the St. Clair River. The Native American faces the water; the European, inland. There was too much shadow to focus on the details on the other side, like the string of fish.

The Spirit of Algonac by Alexander Buchan, dedicated in 1989.

Some art is less formal. In the spring, local artists began painting the concrete bases of lightpoles and spiles (single mooring posts on shore – in this case, on the inland side of the boardwalk). The theme is nautical; the execution, whimsical; and the effect, pretty.

This doesn’t fit the definition of “street art,” but I want to include ribbons, since they serve a decorative purpose as well as drawing attention to community groups. These teal ribbons, part of the Tie Michigan Teal campaign, were put up by volunteers with the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance. They will remain throughout September.

I enjoyed taking photos so much, I may take a daytrip to another town!