If you drive past our Wagner Substation on Livernois Ave. in Detroit, you’ll see a beautiful mural painted on the wall. Located in Southwest Detroit, which is rich in Hispanic heritage, the mural’s message is simple. It reads: Lleno De Energia or Full of Energy.

So, why’s a mural so important?

“Art is irrepressible,” said Ben Falik, founder of Summer in the City. “It’s going to happen no matter the form and our goal is to make it purposeful while connecting the subcultures and neighborhoods within the city. The more art, the more dynamic the city will be.”

Art helps define a city. It connects people, communities and ideas through limitless creative expression. At DTE, we understand the importance of celebrating our communities and are always looking for new ways to showcase them.

On Aug. 12, we partnered with Summer in the City to paint the mural. Dozens of our employees volunteered to help paint the wall and contribute to the newest piece of art in the city.

Dozens of DTE employees volunteered to paint the mural. Photo by Jack Reynolds.

“This is my third year helping paint our substations with Summer in the City,” said Chanora Halliburtin, general supervisor, distribution operations. “My team and I come out, and we really enjoy creating something pretty for the community and showing that we care about where we work.”  

Established in 2002, Summer in the City brings people from different backgrounds together to showcase their creativity and compassion through volunteering in the city and neighborhoods where they live. In addition to painting murals, Summer in the City also plants community gardens and runs citywide day camps for K-5 students. They consider their work to be in service to and in solidarity with the community.

“A lot of people pass by Detroit’s historic neighborhoods, unaware of their vibrant history,” Falik said. “Through these murals, we spotlight and amplify the tradition and qualities that these communities represent.”

Summer in the City’s first step is capturing the culture of the community and creating a design that highlights it. To do so, they rely heavily on community members.

“With every mural we create we try to include the community – from the design process all the way to the actual painting of the mural – so they know they were a part of it and can feel a sense of pride about it,” said Tania Miller, Summer in the City paint crew member.

The Wagner Substation is the third substation we’ve painted with Summer in the City. It’s another way we’re committed to transforming our communities, while celebrating their unique histories.

If you’d like to get involved with Summer in the City visit their website here.