Sep 7, 2018

The Fresco, “Detroit: Crossroad of Innovation,’’ is Part of Cobo Center’s Signature Public Art Initiative

DETROIT, MI (07 SEPTEMBER 2018) – Today, Detroit’s newest piece of public art by renowned artist Hubert Massey was unveiled at Cobo Center. The 30’ x 30’ permanent fresco, “Detroit: Crossroad of Innovation,’’ vibrantly celebrates the city’s diverse industrial and cultural heritage. Located outside of the Grand Riverview Ballroom, the fresco features positive regional stories and incorporates symbols which reflect Detroit’s pride and enduring influences from the past, present and future. The initiative was led by Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA) Art Foundation.

“Hubert Massey’s fresco showcases the spirit of Detroit at its best,’’ said Larry Alexander, DRCFA Board Chairman. “We hope that the nearly 1.4 million people who visit Cobo Center each year will see his masterpiece as a wonderful tribute to the culture, history and achievements that make our city great.’’

Massey put the finishing touches on his fresco during a private reception at Cobo Center on September 7. The public is invited to view the fresco during a special celebration on Sunday, September 23 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“I’m thrilled to create a fresco for Detroit and Cobo Center that celebrates the city, its people and the long wonderful history of innovation,’’ said Massey. “Buon Fresco is the perfect technique for this mural because its colors are strong and it’s built to last for years, just like Detroit. Visitors from all over the world will now really understand the contributions we have made as a city.’’

The $510,000 fresco was made possible by the DRCFA with generous support from organizations and individuals including: The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation.

The fresco is part of a public art initiative launched by the DRCFA and the DRCFA Art Foundation, also known as Cobo Art.  Through Cobo Art, Detroit’s Cobo Center joins major convention centers throughout the country featuring public art including cities such as Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.  

“The mission of Cobo Art is to make art free and accessible to the public, including both Detroiters and visitors who come to the city and convention center,” said Lisa Canada, DRCFA Art Foundation chairwoman and DRCFA vice chair. “We are excited to have a beautiful, permanent legacy piece here at Cobo Center. We look forward to continuing to expand our art collection for all to enjoy.” 

Massey, who is a Kresge Arts Fellow, is hailed for his distinctive frescos, tile murals and a commitment to community engagement in his work. His works include a 72’ diameter terrazzo floor in the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; a tile mural featuring the rich culture of the Latino community in Southwest Detroit; and a fresco mural at the Flint Museum of Art. “Detroit: Crossroad of Innovation” will be his largest accessible work in downtown Detroit. Massey learned the Italian Buon Fresco painting technique from two of the assistants who worked directly with Diego Rivera while creating the iconic Detroit Industry Frescos at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

A community advisory committee, which included professionals from different neighborhoods and a local high school art student, was established to help Massey identify key themes from Detroit’s history and culture to be featured within the fresco.

Massey’s fresco joins an art collection at Cobo that includes work by internationally respected artists such as Robert Sestok, Tyree Guyton, Gilda Snowden, Ed Hamilton and Carl Milles, among others. Cobo Center’s curator is Maureen Devine. Located downtown on the beautiful Detroit Riverfront, Cobo Center is one of the nation’s largest convention centers, offering 723,000 square feet of exhibit space.

About the DRCFA

On 9/15/09, operational control of Cobo Center transferred to the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, under a collaborative agreement by the Michigan State Legislature, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Each of these entities has an appointed member on the DRCFA Board. Larry Alexander is the appointee of the Governor of the State of Michigan and serves as Chairman of the Board. For more information visit:

About Cobo Center:

With 723,000 square feet of exhibit space, Cobo Center boasts one of the largest contiguous exhibit floor spaces in North America and is the 17th largest convention center in the country.  Visit online at


Media Contacts:

Heather George, 313-832-2210, 248-417-5773 (mobile),

Sara Campbell, 313-832-2210, 315-727-3280 (mobile),