Banksy piece of art debuts in abandoned Detroit police station

Image of boy with paint can now in hands of 555 Non Profit Gallery and Studios

By Roger Weber - Reporter

DETROIT - A work of art, secretly created and extricated (and then litigated) has a new home in Detroit.

The mural is the work of the mysterious British street artist Banksy.  It was removed from the abandoned Packard plant, prompting a court fight over its proper ownership.

It's now in the hands of 555 Non Profit Gallery and Studios, which has placed the mural inside an abandoned police station being remodeled in southwest Detroit.

"In this city, it's important that things are salvaged and found positive uses for," said the groups executive director, Carl Goines. "Having the piece on display in an openly accessible public space is what we wanted."

The mural shows a boy with a can of paint and the caption, "I remember when all this was trees."

It is still on cinder blocks removed from the crumbling factory.

"It's encased in a steel frame to keep it structurally together. We've put a Plexiglas barrier on it for the time being."

The elusive Banksy created the image with oil sticks, spray paint and stencils.

"It's a part of the art world and the art community that can't be denied," said Goines.

The Vernor Precinct was vacated in 2006. It will now be used as 555's headquarters, along with artist's studios and community projects.  The project should be finished this summer.

The group is holding an open house from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday. The building is located on Vernor Avenue between Michigan Avenue and I-75.

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