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The original DETROIT LIVES! mural

The first mural was painted starting in June 2009 by Philip Lauri (plus a trusted confidant Mike Sack, a neighbor Peter Dalinowski and his two girls Olive and Ingrid) with about 15 gallons of Disney-themed colored paint (colors were titled “Tiggerific”– orange!– or “Tinkerbell”– bright green!), a couple of rollers and an arsenal of tape. The mural was completed at a leisurely pace over the course of two months, deliberately obscuring the final product until practically the bitter end when the message DETROIT LIVES! appeared.  Up until that point, the mural was an obscure collection of geometric shapes, then aliens appeared and, well, it was just hard to put together.  It was some sort of grand mystery that finally made sense in the end.  It told a pleasant, fun story of martians discovering Detroit and making a strong positive declaration.  People liked it.  Then Karen Dybis from TIME’s Assignment Detroit did a story on the mural.  Have a read here.