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Muskegon railroad bridge murals completed; here's where you can see them

The cost of the project was approximately $185,000.

What was once called an eyesore is now an eye-popping addition to Muskegon's railroad bridges.

Four murals on two of Muskegon's rail bridges have been completed, according to the Muskegon City Public Art Initiative. 

The project was made possible by an online crowdfunding effort that raised $50,000, in addition to $50,000 in funds from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The total cost of the project was approximately $185,000. Of that, 72% was put towards preparing the bridges to be painted. Including cleaning, priming, equipment rental as well as getting the correct permits and finding and paying the artists.

28% went to the art portion of the project. Of the total funds raised, 52% of the dollars were individual and corporate philanthropic donations and grants; municipal community capital improvement funds accounted for 22% of the costs; and 26% of the funds were the matching funds that the community received from the MEDC Patronicity campaign. 

“The cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, and Norton Shores are proud to have come together with the MEDC’s support for the value of placemaking in Michigan, reflected in those who have led the growing public art collection in the Muskegon community,” said Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson. “The creative repurposing of these bridges – what many considered longtime eyesores in each of these cities – is another step toward creating a more beautiful and vibrant community.” 

The four Michigan artists, Jimmy Cobb, Ed Irmen, Ashely Nash, and Dan Parker– were among 16 entries received during the open call for artists. 

Nearly 2,000 votes were received through both online and in-person voting at three public libraries. The four murals chosen for this project, all located on Seaway Drive, were the top four vote-getters.

Located on Seaway between Sherman and Broadway: 

Calm and Quiet by Jimmy Cobb a Muskegon freelance artist who graduated from North Muskegon High School and Muskegon Community College and is now studying at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Jimmy’s inspiration was the beaches and our beloved Big Lake. 

Happy by Dan Parker, a Muskegon self-taught artist, who has painted murals in San Antonio and New York City and around West Michigan, created a mural that pays tribute to the beautiful diversity of our greater community showcasing everyday Muskegonites. 

Located on Seaway between Laketon and Hackley: 

 Flora and Fauna by Ed Irmen, of Detroit, who has a 2016 degree from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and specializes in large-scale murals, painting with an abstract flair and lots of color. Ed is inspired by nature and for this piece, was particularly inspired by our own Muskegon River. 

Pride and Opportunity by Ashley Nash, a Muskegon High School graduate with a fine arts degree from Grand Valley State University, is now a Grand Rapids freelance illustrator. Ashley’s historic montage of iconic Muskegon images showcases some of the beautiful elements that make Muskegon unique.

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