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Urban Artist Gets Loose in Franklin . . . And It's OK

Detroit graffiti and urban artist Malt brings his talents to Franklin as part of the village's first-ever mural project.

The Village of Franklin is a quaint community with a charming 'Main Street' of unique shops and eateries that became Michigan’s first locally registered historic district in 1969. And it's never had an artistic mural. Until now.

On Saturday, members of the community and a group of local art lovers that are part of Main Street Franklin welcomed acclaimed Detroit artist, Malt, to show his urban-artistic skill as he created a spray-paint landscape on the side of the Market Basket off of Franklin Road.

The mural, hand painted on large plywood boards affixed to the side of the historic building, will be on display through the end of summer. It will then be auctioned off in September to help benefit Main Street Franklin, a volunteer-driven, public/private partnership tasked with maintaining the small-town feel of the commercial district while enhancing its cultural and economic potential. After raising $3,000 from the community, and a lot of discussion, a committee of residents with backgrounds in art and historic preservation chose Malt to kick-off the town's first-ever mural project.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase my work, and to do it in a place that it's not traditionally seen," said the 37-year-old Southgate native who is more accustomed to working on the concrete or decaying structures on the gritty streets of Detroit.

"I want to make it pleasing to the eye, but at the same time stay true to what I'm doing as an artist."

Main Street Franklin Executive Director Vivian Carmody said the planning process took nearly 18 months, and acknowledged that a small group of residents opposed bringing Malt's brand of urban artist into the historic district.However, the idea of such a unique juxtaposition of urban art against the pristine backdrop of Michigan’s first historic district, won out in the end. The Franklin Village Council unanimously approved a temporary sign permit for the mural project.

"We've had a lot of support from the community and those that are excited to bring this new mural project here and to do it in the newest art form," she said.

The painting itself took roughly 10-12 hours over two days, during which Malt chatted and interacted with visitors who enjoyed malted shakes at Farmhouse Ice Cream & Coffee, and meet up with friends to walk around the village center during good weekend weather.

Visit the Main Street website for more information about the mural project, and check out more of Malt's work and artistic philosophy at his website.

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