The Spirit of Detroit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Spirit of Detroit
The (old) Detroit City-County Building (Not sure what it's called now) - panoramio.jpg
ArtistMarshall Fredericks
Dimensions790 cm (312 in)
LocationDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
CoordinatesCoordinates: 42°19′45.47″N 83°2′40.66″W / 42.3292972°N 83.0446278°W / 42.3292972; -83.0446278
OwnerColeman A. Young Municipal Center
1959 documentary about the statue from its inception in 1955 to its inauguration in 1958.

The Spirit of Detroit is a city monument with a large bronze statue created by Marshall Fredericks and located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan.


The name emerged from an inscription from 2 Corinthians (3:17) on the marble wall behind it:

               II CORINTHIANS 3:17[1]

It includes the seals of the city and the county in which the statue is located. A plaque in front of the sculpture bears the following inscription: "The artist expresses the concept that God, through the spirit of man is manifested in the family, the noblest human relationship."


The Spirit of Detroit, prior to its 2006 restoration.


It was commissioned in 1955 for a cost of $58,000 (equivalent to $415,000 in 2018)[2] and dedicated on September 23, 1958.[3] In its left hand, the large seated figure holds a gilt bronze sphere emanating rays to symbolize God. The people in the figure's right hand are a family group symbolizing all human relationships.[4] The 26-foot (7.9 m) sculpture was the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance when it was first installed. It was cast in Oslo, Norway.[5][1]


In 1984, the marble panels behind the statue were replaced.[6][7] During the 1980s and 1990s, a facsimile of the statue was featured on the sides of the Detroit Police Department's police cars.[8]



The statue underwent a restoration in 2006, funded by foundations and other private donations.


In 2013 art dealer and art historian Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz was quoted in The Detroit News stating that the value of the statue is in excess of $1 million.[9][10]

Uses as a community symbol[edit]

The statue wearing a Detroit Red Wings sweater during the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs
  • The statue is frequently dressed in sports jerseys when local professional teams are in the playoffs. It was also once dressed in a tuxedo during a visit by the Three Tenors. For the first time since 1997, the statue did not wear a Detroit Red Wings sweater during their Stanley Cup Finals victory in 2008 due to the ongoing restoration. Instead, a large statue of a Tiger at Comerica Park was dressed with a jersey.
  • In the past, a local prankster had painted green (the color of the statue) footprints heading out from the statue and leading to Giacomo Manzù's naked Passo di Danza (Step of the Dance) bronze sculpture nearby.[11]
Spirit of Detroit, illuminated at night
  • As one of Detroit's most easily identifiable landmarks, a sketch of the statue appears as the central element of most of the logos of Detroit's city departments and services.
  • An image of the statue appears on the "Spirit of Detroit Award" certificate.[12] This is issued by the Detroit City Council to a person, event or organization being honored for an outstanding achievement or service to the citizens of Detroit.
  • The Spirit of Detroit is the main image on Detroit Community Scrip.
  • The Spirit of Detroit is featured in the 2011 Chrysler 200 Super Bowl commercial, "Born of Fire", which featured Eminem along with widely known landmarks of Detroit.
  • The Spirit of Detroit is used as Detroit City Football Club's crest. Detroit City FC is a soccer team formed in 2012 that plays in the National Independent Soccer Association.
  • The statue is also featured in the 2018 video game Detroit: Become Human.


  1. ^ a b Smithsonian American Art Museum (1993). "The Spirit of Detroit (Sculpture)". Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian Institution. Control Number 87840002. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2019). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved April 6, 2019. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  3. ^ "The Spirit of Detroit". Wayne County, Michigan: Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority. 1959. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  4. ^ "Spirit of Detroit". Historic Detroit. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  5. ^ Baulch, Vivian M. (August 4, 1998). "Marshall Fredericks: The Spirit of Detroit". Michigan History. The Detroit News. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  6. ^ Zacharias, Pat (September 5, 1999). "The Monuments of Detroit". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  7. ^ Detroit Today Detroit News
  8. ^ "Michigan Detroit - Pictures".
  9. ^ Hodges, Michael (October 24, 2013). "Could Cash-Strapped Detroit's Other Assets Be Sold?". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on October 26, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  10. ^ But see, Johnson, Alex (February 13, 2016). "Art Dealer Eric Spoutz Charged with Selling Dozens of Fakes of American Masters". NBC News. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
    Cascone, Sarah (February 8, 2016). "Art and Law: Did Art Dealer Eric Spoutz Give Forgeries to the Smithsonian?". Retrieved February 17, 2017. Spoutz allegedly conducted fraudulent transactions on dozens of artworks.
  11. ^ "Spirit of Detroit in Detroit, MI". AOL City Guide. Archived from the original on June 23, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
  12. ^ "Wayback Machine". 15 June 2006.

External links[edit]