Cobo Fresco






Dr. Hubert Massey

His bold, vibrant images can be spotted throughout the Detroit metropolitan region. Chances are if you’ve visited Mexicantown, Greektown, the Cultural Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Athletic Club or any number of other landmark community attractions, you’ve encountered the remarkable work of master artist Hubert Massey.

An award-winning Kresge Fine Arts Fellow, his distinctive fresco murals grace the halls of such visible Michigan destinations as the Flint Institute of the Arts, Detroit Athletic Club, and his alma mater, Grand Valley State University, where he earned an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 2012. In 2014 the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority commissioned Hubert to create the first large-scale mural completed for Cobo Center since 1987. A fresco painting, the mural will feature images and tell stories of Detroit community pride.

Hubert studied at the University of London’s Slade Institute of Fine Arts and later learned the centuries-old fresco technique from former assistants of legendary artist Diego Rivera. Today Hubert is the only known, African American commissioned fresco artist in America.

“Public art begins with the community it will serve. In fact, after nearly 20 years of creating large-scale public works of art for various cities, communities and neighborhoods throughout the Midwest, it is my belief that public art should be, first and foremost, meaningful to those who surround it.” – Dr. Hubert Massey



Hubert Massey graduated from Grand Valley State University in 1981 with a Bachelors of Arts. Prior to graduation, he was selected by the University to study to art at the University of London – Slade Institute of Fine Arts. This experience provided Hubert with vision to realize the importance of the marriage between art and architecture. He began to see how art should be intertwined with architectural projects at inception, rather than as an afterthought when a project is near its completion.

In 1989, Hubert began studying art restoration and conservation. Through self-study and research, he learned the art restoration and conservation techniques used by the “Old Masters.” Some of these techniques were used in Hubert’s mural, The Death of Laocoon and his two sons, Antiphas and Thymbraeus. This mural graces the lobby of the Athenaeum Hotel, 1000 Brush Avenue (Greektown), Detroit, MI.

In 1995, Hubert was selected to participate in a fresco workshop under the tutelage of Stephen Dimitroff and Lucienne Bloch, who were apprentices to Diego Rivera. Frescoes have long been considered a lost art and one of the most noble mediums in which an artist to work.

Grand Valley State University – Allendale, MI: Honorary Doctorate and B.A. Art

University of London, Slade Institute of Fine Art – London, England: Art Education Program

Beginnings: Sign Painting

Beginnings: Sign Painting

After graduating from Grand Valley, Hubert invested 12 years as a Pictorial Painter at Gannett Outdoor Sign Company. During this time, he continuously educated himself and refined his painting skills.



Community Work

Community Work

Hubert is well versed in numerous Fine Art techniques. Based on these talents, he has been commissioned to participate in many art programs, workshops and gallery exhibitions as noted: Art Instructor -Detroit Council of the Arts, Detroit Summer Youth Employment Program and the Advanced Gifted and Talented Program. The Advanced Gifted and Talented Program is housed at Wayne State University and is a joint collaboration between Wayne State University and the Detroit Public Schools.



2011: Kresge Foundation Award

2010: Michigan Chronicle Distinguished Detroiter

2010: Dr. Alain Locke Recognition Award – Detroit Institute of Arts

2008: Eminent Award Nominee – The Kresge Foundation

2007: Challenge America Award – National Endowment for the Arts Grant

2007: Flint Institute of Art – Learn the Art of Fresco

2003: Special Artistic Award for Tile Mosaic Design at the College for Creative Studies – Union Masonry Craftworkers Tile-Marble-Terrazzo

2002:Dr. Charles H. Wright Award for Excellence in Art – The Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit)

2001/ 2003: Artist-in-Residence – Ruth Mot Foundation and Grand Valley State University

2001: Distinguished Alumnus Award – Grand Valley State University


From Sculptures to Murals, Frescoes to Stained Glass, Hubert Massey’s work captures community diversity and dynamic culture and history.


Hubert Massey