Whale building to be covered with temporary mural by Detroit artist, garnering mixed reactions

Detroit’s Broderick Tower is getting a makeover. The whale mural better known as the "Wyland" or the whaling wall, will soon be covered with a different mural - but it won't be painted over.

There are mixed reactions, Robert Wyland is the creator of the mural and 99 others around the world.

But when Dan Gilbert's Rocket companies found out that this building was going to be used as advertising space again, they saw an opportunity to bring more artwork to Downtown. For better or worse, it will be covering over this one.

The clock is ticking - anyone who wants to snap some selfies or grab some pictures of the whale wall will want to do it before next Tuesday,

It's important to note the new mural will be printed on vinyl and will simply cover the whale mural - it won't permanently replace it.

"I like it, man, it’s cool. brings some more color to it," said Derek Sanderson.

"I’m not a fan, no. not really," said George Ehrlich.

"I like a nice mural, especially if it has a nice meaning to it," said Leah Nance.

The new work is by artist Phillip Simpson.

"My artwork represents Detroit is home - by not only painting my signature smiles," he said. "But this time we changed them to all different backgrounds, different colors because that represents everyone."

Dan Gilbert’s Rocket Companies tapped native Detroiter Phillip Simpson to create the new mural for the Broderick Wall.

Simpson also brought his signature smiling faces to the basketball courts in the Rocket Mortgage Sports Zone as part of the Monroe Street midway.

"We’re gonna pour one out for the whale building," quipped Kelsey Knapp and Alexa Brady. "Pour one out for the whale building. RIP. Rest in peace."

Detroit’s whaling wall has been there since 1997 - about as long as Knapp and Brady have been alive.

"That is like a Detroit staple, it’s iconic," said Brady.

"Exactly, that’s how we know we’re Downtown," said Knapp. "I feel like because we see the whale building."

People around the globe have seen it, thanks to its prime location behind Comerica Park.

And soon, Simpson’s work will get the same treatment.

"You said it’s a Black artist?" said Emond Bradley. "More power to him.

And God bless you sir for doing that," said Alonzo Johnson.

Rocket’s chief marketing executive is hoping other Detroit companies and building owners will use their properties as canvases for local artists.

Derek Anderson -a graphic designer –is all for it.

"The city needs more color for sure," he said.