When a mural depicting famous authors becomes synonymous with a destination, it’s obvious that place takes graffiti seriously! Although colorful walls are not ubiquitous in Ann Arbor, stumbling upon an alley full of graffiti or a vibrant mural makes clear that Ann Arbor elevates graffiti to art. Here are the top 5 must-see painted walls in Ann Arbor.
1. The Bookstore Mural: Also known as the Author’s Mural, Richard Wolk painted it in 1984 to update the old mural outside the bookstore, David’s Books which used to be on the corner of Liberty Street and State Street. The Bookstore Mural weaves its way into various advertisements for Ann Arbor. They are all famous authors, well most of them, in order the men and one woman featured are Woody Allen, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Hesse, Franz Kafka and Anais Nin.
2. Balloons: When looking at the Bookstore Mural it is easy to miss this mural down the alley just to the right. It depicts hot air balloons rising through a geometric design. Add a little sun flare and the shot is just golden.
3. Graffiti Alley: Tucked away in East Liberty Street is Graffiti Alley, a fitting name for an alley where no one colors within the lines and years of graffiti have accumulated. Katherine Tombeau was the first artist the city commissioned to paint the alley in 1999 and she called it “Infinite Possibilities.” Over the years others have left their signature marks here. When inside the alley, for a great shot, look back towards Liberty Street and frame a passerby’s silhouette in the sunlit entrance.
4. Aventura: This cute Spanish tapas spot comes complete with a mural of a woman bullfighter, which is very rare in a male-dominated arena.
5. Singing in the rain: At first glance from the adjacent sidewalk the genius of the mural can be easily missed. It is only after crossing the street to the island in the middle that one can realize the clever artist who painted the movie’s protagonist dancing around the physical lamppost a few feet in front of it.