Chene Park At Night

Meet The Local Artist Behind Detroit’s Chene Park Portraits

Lacey Holmes
Submitted on Wed, 07/26/2023 - 10:08

Darius Barber, a native of Detroit, was overjoyed to learn that The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre would be a place where he could use his artistic abilities.

Through the Library Street Collective, which exhibits interactive contemporary art for the Detroit community, Barber was tasked with creating a phase of art installations beginning at Jefferson Ave. and continuing down Chene St. toward the waterfront venue.

“I felt incredibly excited about the opportunity to celebrate the park’s rich musical heritage and its significance within the local community,” the 34-year-old said of the assignment.

The installation was to be a series of illuminated structures embedded with images based on iconic musicians with ties to Motown and Detroit — but instead of utilizing paint and a paintbrush for the assignment, he used digital art for the first time.

“We initially just planned on painting Motown artists, but as the project developed, we decided to broaden it and include other musicians with connections to Detroit,” he said.

Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, David Ruffin, Otis Redding, Ron Isley, Gladys Knight, and Tammi Terrell are all featured in the nine vibrant, large-scale art installations.