It is commonplace to see The Spirit of Detroit, one of Detroit’s most iconic monuments, rocking a Detroit sports team jersey before a big game. Monday morning, however, the statue took on a different look.
A makeshift mask was placed on the Spirit of Detroit. It is unclear who put the mask on, but it was not sanctioned by the city of Detroit and has since been removed.
This comes after Mayor Duggan, Governor Whitmer, and CDC officials implored the public to take protective measures and cover their faces when they have to go outside to limit the spread of COVID-19.
As of 3 PM Monday, there are just over 5,000 cases in Detroit and 193 deaths.
With experts predicting the worst effects of the virus are still to come, the action of placing a mask on one of Detroit’s most iconic landmarks seems warranted in encouraging the public to take proper precautions.
So why was the mask removed?
In 2017, Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority (DWJBA) reserved dressing the Spirit of Detroit only for Detroit-based professional teams that won a championship. Teams also must pay $25,000 for maintenance, protection, and conservation.
“Based on past experiences and lessons learned from the 2008 restoration, the Commission has determined that the installation of jerseys can erode the wax coating and patina covering. The process of installation and removal can result in damage,” said DWJBA Commission Chair Sharon Madison who added, “Jerseys and embellishments detract from the importance of the Spirit and the message it symbolically conveys. It represents the best of Detroit — its people.”
Recently in 2019 however, in support of the Detroit Youth Choir, the Spirit of Detroit wore a purple bow tie and vest after the choir finished second in NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
There are currently no plans to place a mask back on the statue.
Photo: Twitter @nickrmanes