10 Kid-Friendly Outdoor Public Art Displays

The metro Detroit and Ann Arbor areas are full of creative and beautiful outdoor public art displays. Take your kids to see the work of local artists at these spots.

Are you looking to help develop your child’s love of art? Check out some of the incredible outdoor public art displays in your area. Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor are packed full of statues, murals and other works of art that families can walk by (or through) and take photos with.

Use this list of our 10 favorite outdoor displays and start planning your family’s art route, today.

African Bead Museum, Detroit

The Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum offers 18 outdoor art installations. Swing by to see African-inspired displays outside created by Olayami Dabls. Make a day out of it and treat your kids to a visit to the indoor bead museum, too.

Canoe Fan, Ann Arbor

Artist Victoria Fuller designed this display 12 years ago and constructed it from nine, 15-foot aluminum canoes. The display is about 35 feet wide and 18 feet tall and is meant to depict images from nature and Native American culture.

Dawn, Warren

Located at the Warren Civic Center at Van Dyke and 13 Mile, this giant statue depicts the rising sun and was erected by the late David Barr to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday. It’s a particularly great visit on warmer days when the nearby fountain is on.

Fresh Popcorn, Birmingham

The utility box outside of Birmingham 8 Theater has been painted to resemble an old-school popcorn box. Check it out along with the Dancing Fish, Wind Rapids and Windswept on the Birmingham Sculpture Tour.

Hamtramck Disneyland, Hamtramck

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Dymytro Szylak grew up in the Ukraine, moved to the U.S. in the 1950s and began building this display on the top of his two garages in the mid-1980s. Szylak has since passed but his 1,945-square-foot installation lives on. Stop by the alley between Sobieski and Klinger, north of Common and south of Carpenter to see the colorful and whimsical structures.

Heidelberg Project, Detroit

What was once trash is now a treasure in the 3600 Block of Heidelberg. Artist Tyree Guyton started transforming the area in 1986 by cleaning up vacant lots and using the items found in the lot to transform the vacant houses into gigantic art sculptures.

The installation was the victim of arson, but you can still see some of the installation and support the future of the project. Visit anytime 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.

Monumental Kitty, Detroit

Located just off I-75 at exit 49A, this brick cat by Jerome Ferretti bursts from the ground. Its head looks a bit like a kiln but with ears, a tail and a paw. The kitty has had some damage over the years, rendering it unrecognizable but there is a current drive to restore the kitty to its former glory.

Mr. Watermelon, Eastpointe

picture of the Eastpointe Watermelon man
Photo via Macombgov.org

Mr. Watermelon Man acts as the unofficial scarecrow at the Eastpointe Community Garden. He’s made of colorful steel and features a goofy face that’s perfect to inspire your kids to make silly faces.

Play Everywhere Cherry Street Mall Mural, Mount Clemens

This newer mural by Alana and Angelika Wynes depicts the history of the city of Mount Clemens through imagery that is distinctively Macomb County.

Take photos with a rose-filled greenhouse, an adorable mouse, a waterfall and more all painted on the buildings and sidewalks. Don’t forget to see the Believer mural just a few blocks away while you’re there.

Riverscape, Ann Arbor

Image of the riverscape art display
Photo via a2gov.org

The rain garden by Joshua Wiener and Patrick Judd was reshaped to protect the river and features steel sculptures of small mouth bass to suggest that the garden is an extension of the river. Since the fish are staggered, they look as though they are swimming when drivers pass by.

Do you love any other outdoor public art displays? Tell us about them in the comments so we can add them to our list.


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