Company turns Michigan Central Station graffiti into jewelry

September 12, 2018
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Amy Peterson, CEO and co-founder of Rebel Nell, a social empowerment jewelry designer employing disadvantaged women to design necklaces and earrings out of fallen graffiti, shows off a necklace made from fallen graffiti inside the Michigan Central Station in Detroit. Ford Motor Co. has commissioned Rebel Nell, to repurpose graffiti from the Michigan Central Station as the automaker prepares to renovate the long vacant train depot. (John T. Greilick/Detroit News via AP)

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has commissioned a Detroit company to reuse graffiti paint flaking off the Michigan Central Station as the automaker prepares to renovate the long vacant train depot.

Ford selected jewelry design company Rebel Nell to create pieces from paint chips that have fallen from the station’s walls. The project pays homage to the artists who’ve used the train station as a canvas since it closed in 1988, said Shawn Wilson, a Ford spokesman.

Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell’s CEO and co-founder, said the project is an opportunity to preserve the legacy and history of the train depot.

Rebel Nell, which helps and hires women transitioning from homelessness, has created about 300 jewelry pieces, including pendants, cuff links, pins and items in the shape of Detroit and Michigan. The proceeds from the jewelry pieces ranging from $35 to $225 will go to four local charities including Love Runs, an organization working to stop human trafficking, and Covenant House, which provides shelter for young people.

“Every piece is one of a kind because of where it came from and the women who made it,” Peterson said.

The automaker selected Rebel Nell because of the organization’s mission empowering women and its approach providing employment opportunities and education on financial management, life wellness and entrepreneurship.

“They utilize their resources to better these women’s lives. We wanted to get behind that,” Wilson said.

Peterson added: “For Ford to even think to partner with us means a lot, and is a great symbol of how they’re developing and getting ingrained in the neighborhood.”

Ford plans to spend roughly $740 million renovating the station and redeveloping other area properties for research and development of self-driving vehicles .

Rebel Nell’s relationship with Ford began over a year ago, when it participated in the automaker’s Ford Resource and Engagement Center accelerator competition for social entrepreneurs. Rebel Nell won $50,000.

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