One of Detroit’s most beloved felines isn’t curled up on a windowsill or lazing on fresh laundry—it’s gazing out at motorists shuttling down a fairly unremarkable service drive en route to the freeway.
Wide-eyed and perky-eared, the brick sculpture known as Monumental Kitty has been charming drivers since 2010. It was installed by the local artist Jerome Ferretti, who once earned his stripes as a journeyman bricklayer before venturing into fine arts.
The cat was intended to enliven an otherwise ho-hum stretch at the edge of the Corktown neighborhood. Convinced that the overlooked median could use a little love, local residents enlisted Ferretti and crowdfunded the money to bring the kitty to life.
Passersby sometimes pull over and scramble to stand on the cat’s domed head. Out of the ground rise a tail and a paw, the latter outfitted with nails made from strips of stone.
Though the cat’s not as splashy as some of the city’s other public art projects—from the sprawling, polka-dotted Heidelberg Project to the industrial Lincoln Street Art Park—it’s a much-welcome addition to the concrete rivers bisecting a city dominated by cars.
Update: As of April 2019, the cat has been largely destroyed. The paw and tail remain, but the head exists only as a pile of rubble. A handwritten sign reassures visitors that kitty’s ears, eyes, and mouth are safely stored until she can be restored.