DIA-commissioned mural for Sterling Heights Police Department draws criticism

Piece called ‘Serve and Protect’

DIA-commissioned mural for police causing controversy in Sterling Heights
DIA-commissioned mural for police causing controversy in Sterling Heights

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A recently revealed mural in Macomb County is drawing criticism and now the artist herself even wants it taken down.

The mural was commissioned by the Detroit Institute of Arts and was placed outside the Sterling Heights Police Department. The mural is a depiction of a piece inside the police station. It was paid for by a Detroit Institute of Arts program that was started under a 2012 millage vote -- which is meant to provide art throughout Metro Detroit.

The piece is called “Serve and Protect,” it’s a tribute to police officers who died in the line of duty. The mural has drawn criticism as being in poor taste and timing considering the Black Lives Matter movement and push for police reform.

"Serve and Protect" art installation outside Sterling Heights Police Department. (WDIV)

The artist, Nicole MacDonald, also wants the mural taken down. She referred Local 4 to statements she made in a Metro Times interview.

“I was trying to do something where they were like in a peaceful moment, like a humble moment,” she said. “And then they had me put an American flag in the background, and I’m not very pro-American, either.”

“So people are now saying that it’s like bowing and praying in front of the flag, which is just gross. I mean, I understand the reaction,” she said.

"Serve and Protect" art installation outside Sterling Heights Police Department. (WDIV)

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About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.