MotorCities National Heritage Area

Michael Burton Exhibit

Additional Info

  • Event Title: Michael Burton Exhibit
  • Event Date(s): Now through August 15, 2021
  • Event Location: Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University
  • Event Description: From an early age, Lansing native Michael Burton (1957–2016) was drawn to automobiles, literally and figuratively. He was fascinated by them and drew them night and day. By his adolescent years, he was a highly skilled draftsman and spent much of his time imagining the future of the automobile in colored pencils and markers. As the story goes, Burton even learned to read from reciting the letters and names of the cars rolling off the Oldsmobile production lines across from his childhood home. Fast forward a couple of decades, and Burton’s lifelong dream to become one of the industry’s top automotive designers not only came true, but he’d become the first Black designer to work for all three top US manufacturers: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors (in that order). Burton’s career spanned nearly forty years, and the works in this exhibition present a focused selection of concept drawings from his time at Chrysler and GM, offering insight to the development of his signature designs. The show thus celebrates the incredible, groundbreaking career of this artist and visionary.