A walk through Midway Murals: St Paul diversity in art!

Quarantines suck. I’m trying to make them suck less with walking tours of street art in the Cities. Today I walked through Midway in St Paul. Actually I walked from my house to my favorite car was (Midway Car Wash Express) and back.

Most of the art is from the Midway Mural project, a public art project that started in 2015 but set to ” build a foundation for public art in the neighborhood that goes beyond one summer and one celebration.” The murals are all on Snelling, which the website reports in the busiest street in St Paul. That makes sense. It is busy and walking through it is sketchy, not dangerous but sketchy. So it’s nice to have some outside stabilizer in the form of art. So, here’s what  I found:

Lori Greene, Berbere, 555 Snelling Avenue – Lori owns the Mosaic on a Stick shop and workshop near her mural. Love the name, especially given the proximity to the Minnesota State Fair. She draws from African and traditional Native American culture.

Yuya Negishi, Birth of a New Day, 689 Snelling Avenue – Not to be braggy, but I have a drawing of Yuya’s in my living room. I have his work. Here I love the colors of the dragon and the pattern in the red and white base. It draws from his Japanese heritage and modern culture. It you keep an eye out, you can see his work all around the city.

BLASTER, Convergence, 638 Snelling Avenue. It’s very space age and splotchy. Blaster (Eri) is part of Rogue Citizens Collective. Apparently he is a counselor and educator and is committed to serving underprivileged at-risk youth. So it’s nice to see his work here.

Greta McLain, Braided, 512 Snelling Avenue This mural incorporates to many cultures and I love the way it snakes around the corner of the building. She has done a lot of the art down Lake St, often with more sparkles but the colors on Snelling are great. I had to take a few pictures to capture the detail of this mural.

There is a mural that looks like a mosaic  of lifting people up. It’s one of my favorites in the area, but I don’t know much about it.

Ilana Budenosky Stop Requested, 742 Snelling Avenue – This is an interesting picture; I wish I knew more. The look on the face of the girls is compelling. I do know that the artist also contributed art to the 2019 Art4Shelter benefit auction for Simpson Family Housing Services in Minneapolis.

Chris Baird Picnic at Newell Park, 761 Snelling Avenue – this apparently is a recent restoration of a mural that has been there for 30 years. That’s amazing. It has a vintage look in the image and the style. But especially during a time like this, it’s nice to see that things stand the test of time. I hope we do too!

I didn’t know it earlier, but the University of St Thomas has mapped out the art of the mural. But I found a few other murals or street are on my route too:

On University Ave and Fairview is the Major Tires mural of a street car by Scott Murphy. It too is very retro.  I have seen in for years but never really looked at who was in the street car – Paul Wellstone, Captain Kangaroo, F Scott FItzgerald and maybe Bob Dylan. (F Scott looked young, Bob Dylan not so much so we weren’t sure.)

Then we have the samurai on Marshall and Cleveland. Some street art in the alley behind Selby and Snelling. And the Turf Club mural.

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