Celebrating Eastside Detroit Community Through Art

Dr. Hubert Massey stands in front of a section of the mural along Beniteau Street outside of the Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack plant. The Detroit-based artist met with community members and local students for inspiration for the mural, which is one of the largest in the region and features iconic and historic images representing the people and culture of Detroit’s east side.

Stellantis is honoring the legacy of Detroit’s east side through art with an impressive mural, recently completed by renowned muralist Dr. Hubert Massey and his team of Detroit-based artists.

For a video about the mural and more photos, click here.

The mural, which spans more than 1,500 feet on the surface of the sound barrier outside Stellantis’ Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack plant along Beniteau Street, features stunning imagery of iconic local landmarks and the people who shaped the community.

“This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate this great community on the east side,” said Dr. Massey, a Detroit resident.

The mural project is part of the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) reached between Stellantis, the city of Detroit and the Neighborhood Advisory Committee in 2019 when the company committed to building the first new assembly plant in the city in more than 30 years. Commercial Contracting Corporation (CCC) and PPG partnered with Stellantis and Dr. Massey on the project, providing equipment and supplies.

“The mural is really spectacular and we’re grateful to Dr. Massey for capturing this community’s culture and history, resulting in some truly stunning artwork,” said Ron Stallworth, public affairs lead for Wayne County, Stellantis North America. “And we’re grateful to our neighbors in the community for sharing their stories with us and allowing us to bring this amazing project to fruition.”

One section of the mural pays tribute to local civil rights pioneer Sarah Elizabeth Ray, a Black woman who was denied a seat on one of the Boblo ferries and subsequently won her fight for integration before the U.S. Supreme Court. In another piece, the faces of several men are featured, representing another historic neighborhood mural “The Wall of Dignity.”

“It was so important to have those in the mural; they’re part of the narrative and the history of the community,” Dr. Massey said.

Another section displays a man standing alongside a classic Dodge truck. The man and truck image represents an “everyman,” but honors a former resident of the area. His son watched the creation of the first mural and provided Dr. Massey with a photo of his late father Henry Williams, an employee at the former Chrysler plant. The son, Francisco Williams, was moved upon seeing his family and neighborhood history captured so beautifully in the mural.

“Every time I look at this, it makes me want to cry,” Williams said, noting that the house pictured in the background of the scene on the mural is his eastside childhood home where he was born and raised.

According to Dr. Massey, he had many, similar positive interactions with community members throughout the creative process and painting the mural.

“It’s those types of stories and those types of things that really resonate in the community, in how this community really embraced the mural,” Dr. Massey said. “They were truly excited about it because it tells their story and celebrates this community to the highest level.”

The northern section of the mural runs adjacent to Southeastern High School, so it’s no surprise that the educational landmark is well represented in the artwork. While working on the project, Dr. Massey sat down with Southeastern art students to get some inspiration for what they thought best represented their school and community.

The result is a majestic display of the school’s mascot, the Jungaleers, proudly represented through a trio of ferocious roaring, purple-maned lions. An image of the historic school building and its 3030 address on Fairview Street is also displayed.

“The students were very enthusiastic about some of the things that they wanted to see,” Dr. Massey said. “They took a lot of pride in it, because that’s their school.”

Other featured images include the carousel on the Detroit Riverwalk and the city’s 313 area code.

Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider, guided by a clear vision to offer freedom of movement with distinctive, affordable and reliable mobility solutions. In addition to the Group’s rich heritage and broad geographic presence, its greatest strengths lie in its sustainable performance, depth of experience and the wide-ranging talents of employees working around the globe. Stellantis will leverage its broad and iconic brand portfolio, which was founded by visionaries who infused the brands with passion and a competitive spirit that speaks to employees and customers alike. Stellantis aspires to become the greatest, not the biggest, while creating added value for all stakeholders, as well as the communities in which it operates.

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