“They’re kind of on a road show right now, so to speak,” artist Nicole Macdonald says of her latest painting series. A group of portraits, Macdonald’s paintings depict Detroiters from all throughout history, from the well-known to the obscure. Figures like Rosa Parks are shown alongside the likes of Chief Pontiac, gang-member-turned-activist Yusef Shakur, and Charleszetta Waddles (aka “Mother Waddles”). Folks at Eastern Market caught wind of the project and decided to install them on-site to kick off their new Sunday market this month. Later, the paintings will utilize Cass Café’s ample wall space from mid-July to mid-September. But the ultimate resting place of the paintings was always intended to be an abandoned, gutted-out warehouse at Grand River Avenue and Maybury Grand Street, where they’ll be used to board up the structure’s 7-by-10-foot windows.
“Its facade is so beautiful; it’s kind of orange brick and there’s some ornate brickwork on the front. It kind of works as a billboard,” Macdonald says. “It leans over [Grand River], so we thought it would be a neat place to have a wall of portraits.” The paintings are slated to be installed in the warehouse’s 17 windows in late September.