The U.S. 127 overpass divides the cities of East Lansing and Lansing.
Four large murals are now taking shape along the walls of the bridge.
It’s called the “Under The Bridge” project.
50 feet wide and 25 feet tall.
That’s the size of four concrete canvases artist, Brian Whitfield hopes will soon transform a dark and dreary overpass into a vivid gateway between two cities.
“I’ve participated in a lot of murals before, but I’ve never led one, but I wanted to take that challenge and see what I can do with it,” says Whitfield.
For as long as he can remember, Whitfield has been mixing paint and washing brushes.
So when chosen to create artwork for the place he calls home Whitfield says, he knew it was the perfect fit.
“I never really thought about it until this project, but it is kind of a gateway to different communities,” says Whitfield.
Whitfield says, many people use the Michigan Avenue Corridor to get back and forth between East Lansing and Lansing and that the bridge is almost a barrier between both cities… which is why he’s teamed up with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership to change that.
“It was dark, it didn’t seem pedestrian friendly, and through this project we’re trying to enhance that with lighting and murals, and a sense of place that’s being created through the activation of this bridge,” says Tri-County Development and Placemaking Manager at LEAP, Josh Holliday.
Holliday says, the community raised $57,000, which was then matched with $50,000 by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to move the project forward.
Now, two years later, Whitfield’s ideas are finally becoming reality.
“The mural behind me is young people playing basketball, kids of growing up in Lansing with their families enjoying the neighborhoods, youth sports, a lot of families do that in the area, so I tried to show that and I kind of give a little nod to Magic with his number and red uniform,” says Whitfield.
Whitfield says, each mural will convey a different story, and create a bridge of their own, becoming a destination within the community that everyone can be proud of.
Later this month, the bridge will be lit with different colored LED lights.