The four elements--earth, wind, fire and water--will soon be represented in a colorful street mural in Minneapolis’s Near North neighborhood.
It’s the second street mural to come to the city as a part of a program called Paint the Pavement
, which "promotes community building and 'placemaking' through creating neighborhood art," according to its website.
Recently, a Corcoran neighborhood mural was unveiled to help calm traffic at the intersection of East 34th Street and 19th Avenue South.
Since the volunteer-run Paint the Pavement started in St. Paul, about 15 street murals have been done through the program, according to Jun-Li Wang, a program volunteer.
“Not only does a mural give visual impact, it’s really the process that goes into making it that has the most value,” she says, adding, “Neighbors work together and meet one another in a way that they wouldn’t at a potluck."
Naturally, the cost depends on a mural’s size, but “a few gallons of paint can have a wonderful impact.”
And it makes the neighborhood more attractive, something that real estate agents have even noted in some home listings, she says.
Last summer, community members in Near North, inspired by similar Portland public art projects, started planning a mural for the intersection of 17th and Girard with a block club grant, according to Ariah Fine, a neighborhood activist.
Following the project's emphasis on youth, neighbors, creativity, color, and environment, people submitted illustrations through a design contest at a block party. A neighborhood youth’s portrayal of the four elements won, and a local artist helped adapt it for the street.
The mural will start small and then gradually grow into four main swirling shapes, Fine explains.
The group chose this intersection because it’s close to the North High School football field, which gets lots of traffic. Also, neighbors close to the intersection were open to it, he says.
On Sept. 24, neighbors will come together to paint the mural. “It’ll be a community event, with more people than just from the block club,” he says. “I hope it’s the first of many opportunities to bring the community together.”
Source: Jun-Li Wang, Paint the Pavement; Ariah Fine, Near North neighborhood activist
Writer: Anna Pratt