THANK YOU to everyone that submitted proposals for art + light at the viaducts! The selection committee and MDI staff have selected finalist proposals. Those proposals are now undergoing review and approcal processes for the City of Detroit and CN and Conrail Railroad companies, who will decide on the final winner(s). Formal announcment coming soon!


Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) in partnership with the New Economy Initiative (NEI) sought proposals to transform the undersides of two viaducts located in Midtown Detroit’s TechTown district with public art and light. 

The Second and Cass Avenue viaducts are two fully operational railroad bridge grade separations located between Baltimore and Amsterdam Streets in TechTown. Originally constructed in 1934, these once magnificent viaducts have been poorly maintained over the years and lack adequate lighting, contributing to unsafe perceptions of the district. This call seeks to give these industrial bridges new life—making them a choice destination rather than a place to pass through.

Accepted proposals will be funded up to $75,000 per viaduct. 

Entries were judged according to the following criteria:

+      Conceives an imaginative transformation of space and conceptual design

+      Combines art and function to create a friendlier environment that promotes use of the space

+      Creates a signature presence for the viaducts that encourages daytime and nighttime interaction

+      Provides adequate and artfully designed lighting

+      Utilizes sustainable building materials and is feasible to maintain

+      Contributes to TechTown’s identity as a hub of innovation

This call was open to all professional artists, architects, designers, design firms and/or teams consisting of these entities located in the following eight southeast Michigan counties:  Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. National and international partners could be included in any given team as long as the project lead could prove residency or physical presence in one of the previously mentioned eight counties.

TechTown is a 20-block emerging innovation district anchored by three key institutions in Midtown Detroit—Wayne State University, the College for Creative Studies and the Henry Ford Health System. The Midtown Viaducts Project will contribute to the growing vibrancy of the district and will become a unique destination for visitors.





Contact: Ashlee Arder | [email protected] | 313.420.6017 OR

Annmarie Borucki | [email protected] 



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Midtown Viaducts Press Release | March 6, 2014

$150K Offered to Redesign Midtown's Dark, Creepy Viaducts | Curbed Detroit
Paul Beshouri | February 26, 2014

Step Up If This Is Your Kind Of 'Canvas' For Public Art in Midtown Detroit | Deadline Detroit
Alan Stamm | February 22, 2014

Midtown Detroit Viaducts Call for Public Art + Light | Metropolis
February 20 - April 30, 2014

Design an urban oasis for Midtown viaducts | Detroit News
Michael Hodges | February 19, 2014

Transform Detroit's Midtown Viaducts | World Landscape Architecture
February 21, 2014

Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light | Rhizome
March 10, 2014

Revive Two Detroit Viaducts in the Michigander-Only Contest | Architects Newspaper
March 28, 2014

Midtown Viaducts Project in Detroit: Call for Projects | Digicult 
April 4, 2014

Midtown Viaducts Project | The Project Relay 
April 2014

MIDTOWN VIADUCTS PROJECT IN DETROIT: Open Call for Artistic Proposals | Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture 
April 2014

Midtown Detroit, Inc. and New Economy Initiative’s Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light Project | eOCULUS of AIA New York
April 2, 2014

Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light Project | wettbewerbe aktuell architectural magazine
April 4, 2014

Up to $75,000 being offered to decorate these Detroit viaducts | MLive.com
David Muller | April 7, 2014

Project to transform 2 Detroit railroad viaducts | Detroit Free Press
April 8, 2014

Nonprofit will award up to $75,000 for each project for artists to decorate 2 Midtown railroad viaducts | Crain's Detroit
April 8, 2014

Project to transform 2 Detroit railroad viaducts | ABC12.com
April 8, 2014

Five days left to apply for $75,000 to decorate Detroit viaducts | MLive.com
David Muller | April 25, 2014

Deadline nearing for Midtown Viaducts Public Art project | Metrotimes
Lee DeVito | April 28, 2014