Sterling Heights illustrator has built the community’s first AR mural

Sterling Heights illustrator has built the community’s first AR mural

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Wendy Popko, who was commissioned to build on Ventimiglia Italian Foods’ wall for the Sterling Heights Public Art Program, is excited for the public to view the mural.

“I’m so excited. This will be the first augmented reality murals in suburban Detroit” – Wendy Popko.

Once finished, the public can load an app on their phone that will bring the mural to life. Popko anticipates starting the work in May, even though the project had started last fall. That is when Sterling Heights Public Arts Program proposed Popko about creating a mural inspired by the city’s rebranding goals. Initially, Popko wanted to create something similar to what was there, but the city wanted her to build something vibrant like the Rainbow Maker mural built for the children’s garden.

It was also right around the time when Popko frequented an art committee meeting at the Velocity Center in Sterling Heights, where she was introduced to AR for the first time. After returning from the meeting, she invited a group of close friends and critics to select out 4 of the best designs. She took to the team at Electrifly to check if any of them were augmented reality compatible.

They selected Trail Blazer, which is a bright yellow and blue chart illustrating activity in Sterling Heights. It was exactly what the Sterling Heights Public Art Program was looking for.

“I love it. When we resurrected the Public Art Program we really wanted it to be consistent with our rebranding objectives and she really did a great job in capturing all of the things that keep Sterling residents and visitors active.” – Melanie Davis, community relations director for the city and a member of the public art program committee.

The mural also highlights soccer players wearing World Cup jerseys. For its part, Ventimiglia’s providing the space for the mural at $1 a year for 5 years. It also has plans to expand its outdoor courtyard for those who make the mural a destination.

“At first they’re not going to believe what they’re seeing. You can’t help but smile at what you’re looking at.” – Popko.

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