DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Graffiti artist Shepard Fairey is scheduled to stand trial next year on charges of illegally tagging buildings while in Detroit to complete a commissioned project.

Court records say a Jan. 26 trial date was set Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court.

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The 45-year-old Fairey is charged with malicious destruction of property. The charges include damage to buildings and a railroad bridge.

The artist was in Detroit in May to complete a 184-foot-tall mural on a downtown building.

The new Shepard Fairey mural in downtown Detroit  (By Edward Cardenas)

The new Shepard Fairey mural in downtown Detroit (By Edward Cardenas)

“I love Detroit because there is a lot of great architecture, old signage. What other people may see as decay, I see as a beautiful playground,” Fairey told WWJ in May.

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Students from the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences also had the opportunity to interact with Fairey and color their own versions of the large mural.

“He inspired me to do my best on art,” said Jeremiah Bell, 13, who appreciated Fairey’s description of how he got his start in humble beginnings. “He didn’t grow up in expensive house. He grew up poor, just like most people.”

The work was financed by businessman Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services, which owns the building.

An attorney for the city has said three of nine damaged properties are city-owned. The damage to all is estimated at about $30,000.

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Fairey’s lawyer has said prosecutors offered no proof the tagging was done by Fairey.
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