As I head east on Grand River Avenue through downtown, rising gently on my left is a beautiful sight on the west side of the Heart of Howell building. It’s a warm, welcoming mural, a symphony of greens tempered with dark oranges and golds, contrasting brightly with the surrounding brick, a work that makes traveling through town a surprising delight. The mural is visible from so many vantage points — high and low, near and far — and it’s accessible to drivers and pedestrians alike. It grabs your attention, and then makes you smile.
“Top Floor Apartment,” by Chicago artist Sick Fisher was part of the the 2019 Howell Art Project. The week-long event brought artists, food and fun to Howell’s downtown, while giving birth to four new murals, and crowning Howell’s historic downtown the hippest in Livingston County.
Cathleen Edgerly, Howell Main Street COO and DDA director, couldn’t be happier with the event.
“It was amazing to see how art could further strengthen Howell’s strong sense of community, foster excitement and energy in all ages, while also addressing diversity and acceptance of different styles of art,” Edgerly said.
That’s all good news for Howell.
Even better news is that the Howell Art Project will be adding more murals next year.
“We definitely plan to … bring even more creativity to the downtown,” Edgerly said. “Once we get through the winter, we will begin to share ‘Call to Artists’ and announce what our residents and visitors can enjoy.”
The Howell Art Project deserves a huge round of applause, and its organizers deserve great thanks, too; I know organizing such an event isn’t a simple feat. But all the hard work and vision paid off big time: In addition to the great stuff successful special events can do — like entertain and connect and build community — the 2019 Howell Art Project left behind some impressive art for us to enjoy for years to come.
I am already looking forward to the 2020 Howell Art Project, and I admit to spending too much time scoping out locations for new murals. Here are some of the imaginary murals I’ve created on my travels around town.
If you’ve got some ideas, share them with me. You can post your thoughts in the comments section below, or you can email your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows? Maybe one of our ideas will become reality, like Harry Potter flying out of the Clinton Street wall of the Howell Carnegie District Library.
This year’s Howell Art Project mural locations and artists are as follows:
Artist is Sick Fisher, born Joseph Nicholas Fisher in 1985 in Weymouth, Mass., but raised in Sebastian, Fla., spending many summers here in Howell. After graduating from The Florida State University in 2008, Fisher moved to Chicago in 2009 to continue his work as an artist.
Fisher works in large scale murals as well as on a variety of smaller surfaces that include canvas, paper, wood, plastic, metal, brick, and glass. Based in Humboldt Park, most of Sick Fisher’s work can be seen on California Avenue, as well as up and down Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square. Other neighborhoods with Fisher’s public work are Rogers Park, Lakeview, Evanston, Downtown, and West Loop.
In addition to his commercial endeavors, Fisher’s true passion is upgrading neglected spaces such as abandoned storefronts and walls with site-specific murals or designs.
Check him out: www.sickfisherart.com, Instagram: @sickfisher, Facebook: @sickfisherart
Walnut Street Marketplace, behind 205 N. Walnut St.
Artist is Sheefy McFly, a muralist born and raised in Detroit. An alumni of the College for Creative Studies, he is also known for his work with Murals in the Market, Art Prize, and the Red Bull House of Art Alumni. He’s completed murals in Chicago commissioned by the Pure Michigan campaign, and is part of a mural residency program sponsored by the City of Detroit, focusing on creating 10 murals in various neighborhoods throughout the city. His art style is both bold and bright.
Check him out: www.sheefymcfly.com, Instagram: @sheefymcfly, Facebook: @sheefymcfly313
Kerry’s Shear Magic Hair and Nail Salon, 732 S. Michigan Ave.
Artist is Kelly Beacome of Center Street Studios, a self-taught artist from Howell. He uses a variety of mediums to create his pieces. His greatest influence in neo-Impressionist and he uses pointillism in many of his pieces.
Beacome assisted in two of the murals currently found in downtown Howell — one along the parking lot off Center Street, and one behind 2FOG’s Pub. In 2018, he had a piece in the Howell Art Project, and he was the 2018 People’s Choice winner at Opera Art Live. Beacome will have assistance on his mural from local artist Cheyenne Bolin.