Jonathan Oppenheimer has been named a winner of the inaugural Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul. As the lead artist of the Midway Murals project, he will commission the muralists, form a neighborhood public art workgroup, and ensure the successful installation and long-term upkeep of the murals. He lives in the heart of the Hamline Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul with his wife and goldendoodle. An active member of the community, he co-founded and leads the Friends of Hamline Park group, which serves to make the park on Snelling Avenue a vibrant, welcoming, and inviting space. He is currently pursuing a dual master's degree in Social Work and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota, with concentrations in clinical social work and social policy. He previously spent 4 years as a Health Educator in the Saint Paul school-based health clinics. In his spare time, he hits the pitch to referee and play soccer.
Jon Reynolds is a multidisciplinary artist from in Saint Paul, MN. As a public artist, Jon is interested in the confluence of social life and participatory art. His most recent public artworks have been temporary, collaborative projects like Connections, a pop-up sculpture park in the West Bank of Minneapolis. For that project, large temporary structures were installed for the Green Line launch party, and visitors were invited to paint, graffiti and decorate the surfaces in response to the question: what do you connect with (or value) in your community? Pedestrians painted the “3D canvasses” with words and images, showing how they connect in their neighborhood. The project was a living piece that blended sculpture and performance into a unique experience for participants.
Other notable projects include Streetcorner Letterpress, a traveling pop-up letterpress studio; Meteata Cart, a mobile bike cart that connects strangers through tea and foosball; One Hundred Eight, a collaborative sculpture installed at construction site; Jackson Garden, a community designed and built school garden. Each project shares the common thread of public participation in a final work of art.
As a team member for Midway Murals, Jon brings expertise in videography, sculpture, construction, documentation, partnership-building, and public engagement. Visit his website at www.jtreynolds.com
Gene Gelgelu has been the Executive Director of African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) since 2008, working to help build wealth within African immigrant communities through economic development. Gene moved to Minnesota from Ethiopia in 1997. AEDS, located at 1821 University Avenue West, is a supporting partner of the Midway Murals project.