10 1 / 2012

The curious case of the censored billboard…

We united and took over a billboard in the middle of Detroit. Here’s the story of how and why

UPDATE 2/9/12: Listen to James Feagin and Miguel “BeloZro” Yeoman talk about the project with Craig Fahle on WDET:

Press Release

Join the conversation, Find us on Facebook

Twitter @ImagDetTogether, #ImagineDetroitTogether

Detroit-born artist Miguel “BeloZro” Yeoman has created a series of paintings depicting his artistic vision of the Big 3 working together.  

"The Rebuild":

"The Reminder":

"Game On":

The Imagine Detroit Together art project was formed around giving the entire city the chance to react to one of those paintings, “The Rebuild.” The artist’s statement reveals why Belozro painted the images, and the video explains how the project came together. 

Our conversation initially started with “Hey, we should put that painting on a billboard.” Since then this project may have morphed into something more meaningful…wish I could tell you we were smart enough to have planned that. What you see here represents collaboration by three of Detroit’s sons; an artist, a marketing guy, and a genius who (usually) uses his powers for good. The most important fact about the Imagine Detroit Together project is that 60 people, from all backgrounds, came together around one idea to accomplish something, in Detroit. Our collective effort exemplifies the kinds of bridges that MUST be built, and crossed, if Detroit is going to grow.

For press inquires and more information: ImagineDetroitTogether@gmail.com

Physical location, 94 and Second Ave in Detroit:

Why are the logos covered on the billboard?

The billboard company felt that displaying the painting could produce negative consequences for them, and required us to cover the logos. Needless to say, we’re disappointed in the censorship, but we committed finishing the project and giving opportunity for the discussion to take place regarding freedom of expression, trademarks, and the use of billboards for noncommercial purposes.

Who is Imagine Detroit Together?

We’re Just a couple of young, creative guys who came together around what we thought was a cool idea. We didn’t really set out to launch an organization, just wanted to share the painting. However, having enjoyed working together, we may launch another citywide project in the future. 

Who paid for the billboard?

Usually companies pay to put their advertising on billboards, but through a process called crowdfunding (a more social kind of online fundraising where many people contribute towards a goal that none of them could afford alone) nearly 60 people dropped their quarters into the machine, eventually filling up the piggy bank. (You can see many of their beautiful faces at the bottom of this post). We used a new service called Loudsauce which is a crowdfunding site specifically dedicated to crowdfunding advertising channels (billboards, TV, radio, print, etc). If you raise the funds and create the content, they handle the rest.

We hope and believe that this kind of goal-focused social spending will be harnessed to greater and greater effect, and become more and more routine in Detroit. Is there something you think should exist but doesn’t? You don’t always need to start by asking the city or big companies or wealthy patrons. Create a campaign, tell your friends, family, neighbors, and networks. You might be surprised by what happens.


Thank you funders!!!

Mystery Ninja
Mystery Ninja 

Corktown Housing
Corktown Housing 

McClure's Pickles
McClure’s Pickles 

Code for America
Code for America 

Jerry Paffendorf
Jerry Paffendorf 

Colin Mutchler
Colin Mutchler 

Jay Aho
Jay Aho 

Jared Stasik
Jared Stasik 

Caroline D Stamps
Caroline D Stamps 

Joy Reed
Joy Reed 

Erica Little
Erica Little 

J.j. Curis
J.j. Curis 

Karin Robertson Chopin
Karin Robertson Chopin 

Mary Lorene Carter
Mary Lorene Carter 

Ashlee Lori Will
Ashlee Lori Will 

Dan Ancona
Dan Ancona 

Nicole Itkin
Nicole Itkin 

Michael Carroll
Michael Carroll 

Noel Egnatios
Noel Egnatios 

Dave Linabury
Dave Linabury 

Laura E Breisch
Laura E Breisch 

Cynthia Solaka
Cynthia Solaka 

Cheryl Swarthout
Cheryl Swarthout 

Koralstarr Lennartz
Koralstarr Lennartz 

Janet Brainard
Janet Brainard 

Casie Laethem
Casie Laethem 

Envo Water
Envo Water 

Ryan Hertz
Ryan Hertz 

Danika Von Gesjen
Danika Von Gesjen 

Cary Brainard
Cary Brainard 

Katie Cardinali
Katie Cardinali 

Glyn Williams
Glyn Williams 

JeanMarie Morrish
JeanMarie Morrish 

Erica Ward
Erica Ward 

Carla Callaway
Carla Callaway 

Jeff Sturges
Jeff Sturges 

Larry Chadwick
Larry Chadwick 

Jessica Stephens
Jessica Stephens 

Jeff Singhurse
Jeff Singhurse 

Jason Malone
Jason Malone 

Stacy Fass
Stacy Fass 

Amy Loree
Amy Loree 

Mark Peter Pan
Mark Peter Pan 

Angela Zinner
Angela Zinner 

Matt Dibble
Matt Dibble 

Matthew Sitek
Matthew Sitek 

Emily Christine
Emily Christine 

Andy Didorosi
Andy Didorosi 

Steve Waves Simpson
Steve Waves Simpson 

Jessica Pauline
Jessica Pauline 

Rob Rauchman
Rob Rauchman