The Midway Murals project will transform a half-mile stretch of Snelling Avenue during the summer of 2015 by commissioning four experienced public artists to collaborate with immigrant business owners and the Hamline Midway neighborhood to create murals that weave together the theme of “starting anew.” Each artist will create a separate mural, working over many months with business owners to craft an idea that will come to fruition in July and August with the installation of a piece where the businesses reside. Lori Greene will work in mosaic; Greta McLain in paint and mosaic; Eric Mattheis in spray paint; Yuya Negishi in traditional and spray paint. The murals will reflect the changes in culture, residents, infrastructure and imagination that are forever occurring in the city, as well as the promise and struggles that the community navigates over time. An outdoor museum, with a permanent and evolving exhibit, will be born.
These projects focus on one of the most visible and highly travelled roads in Minnesota – the main thoroughfare from I-94, over the Green Line, on towards the State Fair – which suffers from rampant graffiti and an image to many as a street to drive through, yet not be seen. By flipping that perception on its head, this project will attract pedestrians and drivers alike and encourage them to stop, take notice, and frequent the businesses along the street. A celebration and unveiling of the murals will bring hundreds of community members together to hear from the artists, take a walking tour of the art, and learn about the process of creating the murals and the stories behind them.
Midway Murals also aims to build a foundation for public art in the neighborhood that goes beyond one summer and one celebration. This project will serve as the cornerstone for a new public art workgroup housed in the Hamline Midway Coalition, the neighborhood’s non-profit district council. This group will bring together community members of diverse backgrounds to meet regularly to brainstorm new ideas and locations for public art; ensure upkeep and maintenance of existing pieces; and curate and oversee the expansion of this art corridor in future years.