The Detroit Museum of Public Art (Detroit MoPA/DMoPA) is an online archive that I’ve run since 2015 with a mission to archive, interpret, protect, and promote the academic and professional study of public art in Detroit. The goal is ambitious (and nearly fully out-of-pocket) with the hope that eventually city government or an institution like the DIA will take over the project and pay me a fair salary to continue my work on it. That hasn’t yet happened but here is what I hope to accomplish:

  1. Photograph every single piece of Public Art in the city, and update the archive as new pieces are discovered or created.
  2. Research the name of the artist(s), the year the pieces were completed, any information on the property that it is on, and it’s estimated cost of production.
  3. Put all of the data on a public spreadsheet with gps coordinates and other data points that enable researchers to learn how the artwork affects crime rates, graduation rates, property values, racial and income demographics, and more.
  4. Create a way for viewers to organize the artworks by year, genre, city district, or artist name.
    • Rank city district by number of artworks in them so that administrator can see where additional funding is needed.
    • Rank artists by number of artworks in the city, creating incentive to produce more work and recognition (and thus potentially higher commissions) for those that make it to the top of the list.
  5. Map the data, and have it be the best region specific arts & culture resource available to city residents.
  6. Never charge for access to the data.

Note: In May 2020 after spending thousands of dollars on it annually, I decided to take a “brief hiatus.” Below are the remnants of the project. I work on it from time to time hoping that city government one day sees the potential but I’m no longer spending a percentage of my time or income on it.