By JONATHAN OPPENHEIMER
After a one-year hiatus from mural work, the Midway Public Art Working Group and Hamline University are leading the charge on two new public art projects along Snelling Ave. this coming summer and fall. The two murals will bring new life to both the east and west sides of the intersection of Snelling and Englewood, welcoming people entering the neighborhood from the north and splashing color via a brand new mural and an exciting restoration project. An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is scheduled to begin Apr. 11, with funds to be split equally between the two projects.
The new mural project, currently dubbed Midway Murals 2.0, is the product of months of planning and a public Request for Proposals put out in February of this year. Three members of the Working Group and five members of the Hamline faculty joined forces to initiate a project that will provide an opportunity for an emerging or pre-emerging artist to lead a project that builds bridges between Hamline University and the Hamline Midway neighborhood.
Three finalists have been chosen to submit more detailed proposals in mid-April, with a winner to be selected in May. The mural will then be installed in summer or early fall on the north-facing wall of 742 Snelling Ave., directly adjacent to the ramp leading to Super America. The tentative plans include new projects at the site in future years, with the existing mural, which will be installed on a detachable surface, moving to a new home at that time.
Across the street, on the north wall of the building housing Mirror of Korea and Hamline Hardware Hank, an equally exciting mural project will simultaneously be taking place, this one the restoration of Picnic at Newell Park, by local artist Chris Baird. This year marks the 30-year anniversary of the mural, which continues to impress, but called for a refresh after years of braving Minnesota winters. Baird has generously agreed to return to spruce it up this summer, while she juggles her work as a nanny and jewelry maker, and local residents are eager to celebrate along with her as she restores it to its original glory.
The Midway Public Art Working Group grew out of the 2015 Midway Murals project and is made up of volunteers who live, work, and go to school in the neighborhood. The group received formal approval two years ago to work under the auspices of the Hamline Midway Coalition, and since then, it has supported two local Paint the Pavement projects, with three more in the works for this year. Its mission is “to enhance livability, pride, interaction, and vibrancy in the Midway community through public art.”
Everyone is welcome to attend quarterly meetings and can sign up for the email list by contacting the author at the email listed below.
These murals are possible only with the support of countless volunteers, the Hamline University community, the donations of generous local businesses, and the monetary support of those who contribute to the upcoming crowdfunding campaign. Donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated and can be made at https://igg.me/at/midway-murals-2-0 beginning Apr. 11.
Please contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, to join the public art email list, to help sponsor the murals, or to donate outside of the crowdfunding campaign.