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”