Detroit Peace Flag Project Irks Neighbors

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DETROIT, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Neighbors of an abandoned Detroit home where a New York art group created a Tibet-inspired peace flag said they do not want the art in their neighborhood.

The art group, Artefacting, said it completed its project outside of the home Sunday with more than 200 “peace and hope” flags on a 50-foot spire they attached to the top of the abandoned home in the 4200 block of Chene, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Alex White Mazzarella, the co-founder of the group, said the project is aimed at raising awareness of the social and economic problems in Detroit.

“Our efforts are to use art to engage social issues,” White Mazzarella said. “For us, this is a platform for the community.”

However, neighbors of the art project said they did not appreciate their street being used for an art installation.

“It adds blight to our community,” said Dee Vaughn, president of the 48207 Grass Roots Detroiters community group. “Not only does it add blight, but it draws attention to it.”

Resident Thelma Stallings said the project is “not art to us” and neighbor Hazel Johnson described the project as “degrading.”

Mohamed Okdie, a former member of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, said too many groups are choosing Detroit as a setting for their projects.

“I’m getting tired of outsiders who see this city … as a project,” Okdie said. “I resent that.”

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