DETROIT - "Spirit Murals" are being installed on the north face of Little Caesars Arena as the state-of-the-art facility approaches grand opening. The choices of artists and athletes showcase a diverse group of Detroit sports and entertainment legends, painted in a wide range of colors to acknowledge the different backgrounds of these legends, as well as those of the fans that celebrate their spirit.
The Spirit Murals will display other Detroit legends over time. Individuals that have defined sports and entertainment in our community will be changed as important anniversaries come up, allowing us to celebrate great moments and mark the historic milestones that made Detroit swell with pride.
The first series of Spirit Murals are:
- Isiah Thomas - Detroit Pistons' career leader in points, assists, steals, turnovers, minutes played; led the Pistons to their first Eastern Conference Finals 30 years ago, the deepest they had gone in the playoffs since they moved to Detroit from Ft. Wayne.
- Eminem - Greatest selling male Detroit artist of all time and top selling male artist of the 2000s; the landmark Slim Shady EP recorded 20 years ago.
- Aretha Franklin - The Queen of Soul, one of the most influential and important voices in music history, who was also the first female artist inducted rock-n-roll hall of fame; 50 years ago R-E-S-P-E-C-T became a hit and signature song.
- Gordie Howe - Hockey icon (Mr. Hockey), Detroit Red Wings career leader in games, goals, points; Gordie started wearing his legendary #9 in his second season, 70 years ago.
- Joe Louis - One of the greatest boxers of all time, a nationwide World War II hero who broke the color barrier in professional golf and won the heavyweight championship 80 years ago.
The murals were painted by Don Kilpatrick III. A Detroit-based artist whose work has been featured in publications such as Fortune, the L.A. Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is the chair of the Illustration Department at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The murals were conceived and art directed by Olympia Entertainment Creative Director, Bryan Durren, who taught with Kilpatrick at CCS.