This is the story of how this mural came to be.....
We painted the mural for Freedom House in the summer of 1995. Janet Rey was the director of Freedom House in Detroit. Janet had gotten enough grant money to finance the project, and she had also gotten permission from Senor Armando Galan to use the back wall of his restaurant for the mural. Los Galanes Restaurant is at 3362 Bagley Avenue in Southwest Detroit which is known as Mexican Town. It sits on the western side of I-75 a couple of blocks from the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. You can see the top of the bridge to the left of the mural. The mural was up there for over 20 years,.
Anne Jantz, Sharon O'Hara-Bruce and Elizabeth Medellin coordinated the mural. The project took five weeks while over 75 people of all ages, races and many national origins participated. It was a joyful peak experience for many participants. It was there for 20 years until October of 2015 in good condition with no graffiti on it. Then it was painted over with another very beautiful mural. We all miss it, but it still appears for a brief couple of seconds in a Chevrolet commercial on Detroit Television. The sound track precedes it with a song lyric, "Everbody starts to move".
Freedom House is a shelter for political refugees from around the world, so the title of the mural, "Diversity Is Our Strength" was very dear to the hearts of the organizers. Anne and the other coordinators of the project spent many afternoons with the refugees who were living at Freedom House. Anne Jantz wrote a poem, My Name is Maria about the immigrant dreams symbolized by Freedom House.
(Voted as one of the best things in Detroit by "Hour" Magazine.)
The design for the mural was chosen from art submitted for a contest that Freedom House conducted in the High School art classes in Southwest Detroit . The talented young man who won the contest was a refugee from Nicaragua.
Southwest Detroit is predominantly Latino with Spanish speaking people from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America. There are many Latino restaurants in the area as well as tortilla factories, Mexican bakeries and Mexican crafts shops. The mural was only a few blocks from the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
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Anne Jantz Designs
Mexican Town, Detroit, Michigan, USA