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At the corner of West Grand Boulevard and Grand River Avenue are an interesting couple of mirror faced buildings nearly surrounded by outdoor art installations. The walls of the old structures are covered with various shaped cut mirrors, many hand painted with different patterns in bold, vibrant colors. The glittering, colorful mirrors are fastened to the buildings and extend from front to back, and top to bottom. Mixed within the mirrors are common things such as empty paint cans, sections of wire fencing, and other everyday items.

One of the colorful buildings on the site

One of the colorful buildings on the site

House wall detail with paint cans

House wall detail with paint cans

The unusual buildings straddle a couple of empty grassy lots. Those open areas are stuffed full of outdoor public art displays constructed of cast off recycled materials such as cement rebar, nails, bricks, tree limbs, old vehicles, and other similar items. Smaller shards of the painted, cut mirrors are used as highlights in many of the richly painted art pieces used in the installations.

Tractor with an artistic flair

Tractor with an artistic flair

One of many bright walls

One of many bright walls

The site with the glimmering building walls and folk art type installations are all part of the visually engaging Mbad Museum and Dabl’s African Bead Gallery. Although I’ve never been in the actual museum, I’ve spent plenty of time walking throughout the grounds looking at the mesmerizing variety of art installations, many done in an African motif.

Bead House Sign_9247

Side detail of another building

Side detail of another building

Someday soon I hope to get over there when the museum is open to see what artifacts and beads are on display. If the inside is anything like the outside, it should be a visual feast for the eyes.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the ever changing outdoor art work along this little section of Grand River Avenue.

If you haven’t been there, check it out if you’re ever in that part of the city. Here is a sampling of what you’ll find.

Mirror pieces surround the hand

Cut mirror pieces surround the hand

Made from nails, wire, and other found materials

Made from nails, wire, and other found materials

Detail of performance stage floor

Detail of an outdoor performance stage floor

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