The last week has been utterly heartbreaking and traumatic as we’ve watched our city fall apart. My family is all physically safe however our hearts are broken and it will take years and years to rebuild our city. Instead of focusing on all the scary, heart-wrenching news, I wanted to share a post I published two years ago that shares some of the beautiful multicultural street art that paints these very neighborhoods which have been destroyed. As we slowly start to mend and rebuild as a city, I hope that these murals will bring a sense of culture, community and much-needed hope in such dark days of grief, pain, and heartbreak. As soon as things calm down, I will add the new George Flloyd mural that has gone up at 38th and Chicago.
Minneapolis is a huge, diverse city with many different neighborhoods and cultures. Although highly Scandinavian in heritage (there are too many “sons’ to name – Anderson, Johnson, Olson, etc), today Minnesota can boast being home to over 400,000 immigrants from around the world. In fact, per the City of Minneapolis’ most recent census the ten largest groups of foreign-born residents in Minnesota are (in descending order): Mexico, India, Laos, Somalia, Vietnam, China, Thailand (including Hmong), Ethiopia, Korea, and Canada. Believe it or not, Minneapolis has the largest Somali population outside of Somalia.
Given such a cultural melting pot, it is no wonder that Minneapolis has some of the richest street art and murals in the upper Midwest. During a recent self-made tour of South and Southwest Minneapolis, I discovered hundreds of colorful, impressive street art painted across the walls, buildings and garages of the city. I was so incredibly inspired and awe-struck by the incredible art I saw that a newfound love and devotion to my city began.
The idea for this series on street art began when I decided to look out the car window and notice what I saw. I began to see that there was street art in many unexpected places and there was a lot of it. I did some research on the internet and found that there are not many up to date posts or articles about Minneapolis’ vibrant street art scene. I jotted down a few addresses that I found from the City of Minneapolis’ interactive street art guide (The Public “ Art Map”) but found that a lot of the art had changed.
So I decided to make my own street art guide, neighborhood by neighborhood, starting with what I know best: South and Southwest Minneapolis. Over time, I hope to hit North, Northeast and other parts of the city to complete the guide and even go across the river to neighboring St. Paul to see what kind of street art is over there. In this one sweep, I found over 80 murals so I had to cut it down to my personal favorites. Please feel free to add any locations of your favorites in the comments. I also had a hard time tracking down the artists of each work. Perhaps that will be a project for the next post.
Without further ado, here is my Epic Guide to exploring street art in South Minneapolis.
Street Art Guide Part 1
Starting point: Lyndale and 38th Street
Lyndale and 38th
Lyndale and 36th
Lyndale and Lake
Lyndale and 28th
Lyndale and 26th
Lyndale and 24th
Cut a few blocks over to 26th Street and Hennepin Ave South – another major thoroughfare – and you will reach one of my favorite murals, a beautiful purple painting of the late musician Prince by Artist Rock Martinez.
Street Art Guide Part 2
This part of Minneapolis is known for its Mexican and Somali culture. As you drive past 35W on Lake Street you will notice the different stores and restaurants from these cultures.
207 E.Lake Street
211 East Lake Street
E Lake and 3rd Ave – This is a very long mural that goes along the entire side of a building.
E Lake and S 4th Ave -There are two murals on each side of the street, and if you continue to walk down 4th Avenue South you will find all kinds of art behind walls. A nice mix and Mexican and Somali inspired street art to reflect the strong immigrant communities who live in this area. There is also a touch of Native and African American culture as well.
Another group of murals in same area….
E Lake and South 5th Ave– one very long Mexican mural on side of Plaza Mexico Mexican restaurant and another smaller one on another Mexican restaurant.
Portland and 31st- Chinese dragon garage
Oakland and E 33rd Street- I love this cool, colorful fence
Columbus Ave and East Lake Street
Stevens Ave and East 25th Street – Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) of course has an incredible masterpiece on the side of its building.
227 East 26th Street
116 E 26th Street
East 26th and Nicollet- I loved this gorgeous series of 8 colorful window murals perfectly painted along the side of East 26th street. (If you are hungry, you are right near part of Eat Street on Nicollet. Tons of amazing restaurants to choose from!).
Street Art Guide Part 3
If you still haven’t had enough, then head over to the Bancroft neighborhood by Lake Hiawatha and Lake Nokomis in South Minneapolis where you can find two more amazing murals and then spend the rest of the day at the beach (on Lake Nokomis) or a visit to the Minnehaha Falls and Park. It is definitely worth the visit as the murals are beautiful and full of color and life.
E 42nd Street and Cedar
E 42nd Street and 28th Ave- Mississippi Flyway
Last but not least
I did not include these two murals in my tour however I still enjoyed them. If you want to see them, feel free to add them into the route.
Nicollet and 38th- panda mural at Rainbow Chinese restaurant
Blaisdell and 29th -Side of a bike shop
While this list by no means includes every street mural in South Minneapolis, it does include some of my favorites. There is no better way to explore the culture of a city than through its art.
Check out this awesome interactive map with street art by neighborhood by the City of Minneapolis “Public Art Map”
Thank you for sharing this beautiful homage to your city, my friend. Sad what’s happening there and across the nation. We humans still have some growing up to do on so many fronts. It’s become evident again this week. Let’s all work for a world where Minneapolis and every city can extoll its positive virtues rather than baring the scars of those continued growing pains.
Thank you for your beautiful words of hope.
Wow! This is so wonderful. So many of them appeal to me, and they all show the life and vibrance of your city. And the one of George Floyd brought me to tears. Your city will heal Nicole. Hold to that. It will heal, and maybe be even better than it was. My single prayer in all of this is that George Floyd didn’t die in vain.
Yes, Alison let’s hope this brings change not only to our city but our country as well. A lot of work to do. I did go to 38th and Chicago and saw these words painted on George Floyd’s mural that said “Now I can breathe”. That resonates with your last comment and gave me hope.
Beautiful collection Nicole. Heartbreaking what is happening there and hopeful that we finally see the systemic change so desperately needed.
Let’s hope. So much work lies ahead.
as always wonderful post.. reminds me of Santiago… Thank You… s
So very beautiful, Nicole. Thinking of you in these unhappy times and sending hugs.
I can’t ‘like’ this because it’s so sad to hear the news of events unfolding, but thanks for postings the colourful street art
Yes it sure has been a tragic time on so many levels.
Well done……appreciate what you are going through Nicole and have thought of you over this past number of days…… #staystrong #blacklivesmatter
Thanks Ruth. Today was a bit of healing as we saw so much coming together as communities from all over to help clean up, donate much-need supplies to help out. Now the real work begins, that of social justice.
I love street art and love to see cities embrace them. Sad to see the footage on the news of Minneapolis and beyond. It’s hard to find the words to express my shock and disbelief at George Floyd’s needless killing, never mind my thoughts on the deep-seated issues that it stemmed from. Glad to hear your family is safe. It must be a confusing time for your children. Wishing the many voices are heard by those who need to listen and that many pens vote for action when the time comes.
Thank you. It has been such an emotional time on so many levels. However, instead of losing hope I’ve realized that as parents and citizens of this city, state and country, it is up to us to make a difference and help make change. Our work is sure cut out for us, however, without hope there is nothing.
It’s a rough time to be an American, that’s for sure. For all of us who welcome and support those of different races and cultures, there are so many (more than I thought) who cannot or will not do the same. It breaks my heart. It’s especially hard to accept that we felt things were getting better over the years, but in truth, either we were deluding ourselves or things really did start to turn in a much worse direction in recent years. Either way, it is shameful. 😢
I wholeheartedly agree Lexi. Thanks for your words.
Fantastic! I passed it on to a mural loving friend in Oaxaca. Thanks so much!
I have been thinking of you and watching your posts on Facebook Nicole. What a beautiful city you have. So much healing to do. May George Floyd live on in each of us as we listen , learn, understand and do better.
Thank you Sue. It sure has been a few very hard, painful weeks. My first reaction was such despair as these last four years have been particularly hard and painful. I am scared of what the coming months bring but also have some hope. Without hope there is nothing so I can’t lose it now when there is a long road ahead. I’ve made some personal commitments to do my tiny part to help out in the community and at my kids schools but there is so much work to be done. Thanks for reading and as always your incredible support.