Midway Murals

Midway Murals

I wanted to find a way to bring people together,
to make them feel better about the neighborhood, and I wanted to help businesses. Because when
business are doing well, you know, folks in the neighborhood feel better, houses are more
attractive, and people are out and about more. And so public art seemed to be a wonderful
way to do that. And then I was just fortunate enough to get funded by the Knight Arts Challenge
to lead this project in its entirety. Which is four murals, four professional muralists,
all with different approaches, different perspectives, using different art mediums, collaborating
with immigrant business owners along Snelling Avenue as well as the residents in the neighborhood
to create murals along the theme of starting anew.
And one of the great things about the project is that it’s really brought the cultural diversity
of the neighborhood out into the forefront, and much more visible. It really prettied
up some of the buildings in a stretch of Snelling that had some vacancy and was looking kind
of tired. And at the same time the city and MnDOT have been making improvements to this
stretch of Snelling with improvements to the sidewalk and making it more pedestrian friendly
and street lanterns, and so the combination, I think, is really going to have a big impact
on this stretch of Snelling Avenue. And Snelling Avenue is such a central location
for not only our neighborhood, but for the entire city of Saint Paul, and really for
the Twin Cities in general. And a big part of this project has been introducing
some of those businesses and business people to folks in the neighborhood who may not have
known that much them before. Part of the event on Saturday actually brought a lot of people
in those businesses, maybe for the first time in some cases, saw what they had to offer,
there was food, a lot of conversation, and that was all really great.
It was very important that whoever the artists were, that they be really committed
to community engagement. That’s not for all artists, but they had to be willing to have
conversations, willing to connect with the folks who live here, and make that an integral
part of the project. I mean, you just sit out here for an hour
watching these folks work, and the engagement with the people who are walking by is just
tremendous. But, I think, in the end there’s something for everyone here, and people have
found that art in its many different forms really just brings a lot of joy to the neighborhood,
and my hope is that it can really be a launching point for more conversations, more collaboration,
stronger economic development, and more folks really caring about and feeling pride in and
connection to their neighbors here in the Midway Neighborhood.

One thought on “Midway Murals

  1. I saw one of the murals on Sunday and it is amazing! What a wonderful job by the artists and organizers. A beautiful addition to Saint Paul.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *