This is a developing story and I will be updating it regularly with new murals as they go up around the city. While not every mural is not of George Floyd, I used the liberty to call them the George Floyd murals because every single one of these murals has been painted since his tragic murder on May 25th. Please check back often and let me know if I am missing any murals. My goal is to document the murals throughout the city over the coming months. I will also interview muralists and artists to learn as much as I can about why them. Therefore, as I receive more information I will update the accuracy of this post. Finally, if you plan on visiting these murals, please do so with humility and respect. There have been many complaints from residents that George Floyd’s memorial site at 38th and Chicago has become a “tourist attraction” which is not at all what it is meant to be. Please be respectful. If you would like to make a donation to one of the many social justice groups in our city, I am including a list at the end of this post. Thank you.
May 25, 2020. A life is tragically taken. A local and then global protest began demanding justice and systemic change. A movement begins. George Floyd is just one of the countless other people who have been a victim of violence, racial injustice, suffering, and pain.
Monday, May 25th is a day that changed my city, Minneapolis, forever. That tragic day, a white Minneapolis Police officer kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds outside of Cup Foods on 38th and Chicago. Following Floyd’s brutal murder, thousands took to the streets of Minneapolis, some peaceful others violent, demanding justice for George Floyd, systemic change, and hope for a better, more just world where black lives not only matter but are treated with equality and respect.
Without diving into all the social justice and moral issues of George Floyd’s death and the immense racial inequalities in our city, our country, and our world, I want to use this space as a living museum to document the incredible art that is going up on the boarded-up businesses around our city. Artists are using their voice to demand social justice, antiracism, systemic change, and hope by painting powerful murals all throughout Minneapolis.
What started as a cry of outrage for the brutal death of George Floyd outside of Cup Foods has grown into a citywide movement of representing pain, suffering, tragedy, and hope. It is my commitment to document and share this voice throughout the coming months. I will be updating this post with finished pieces of art and new murals on a regular basis, and I will also be speaking with local communities to learn more about what each piece means and who created it. It is my commitment to myself, my children, and my community that together we can make this city and world a place where all people are treated equally with humility and respect. A country where every single human being is treated with freedom, liberty, and justice for all.
One of the first and now most renowned murals to be painted as a tribute and call to justice for George Floyd was done shortly after he was killed by Good Space Murals artists Niko Alexander, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Xena Goldman, Pablo Helm Hernandez. The artists began painting the mural three days after Floyd was killed on the side of Cup Foods and completed it in less than 12 hours. For the artists, it was a way for them to heal and demand justice for George Floyd. Today, this site continues to have peaceful protesters and those coming to pay their respect often leaving flowers. There are also ways to donate to community initiatives and outreach for those impacted by the protests. Several community groups have set up pop up food shelves and are collecting canned food items and essential supplies. More murals are going up around the Powderhorn neighborhood and I hope to document them soon.
When the peaceful protest turned violent, businesses throughout the city boarded up their storefronts and windows in case of further looting and damage the coming nights. The protesters headed all the way from the now destroyed Third Precinct in the Longfellow Neighborhood of Minneapolis, walking 2.3 miles west down Lake Street to reach the Fifth Precinct on Lake Street and Nicollet Ave. Most of these buildings were damaged, looted, and/or destroyed. However, the residential buildings, apartments, and stores further west down Lake Street were all boarded up just in case the violent protesting and looting continued. To this day, these buildings remain boarded up but were never damaged as the violence and chaos dissipated and order was restored. Without going into further detail of the chronology of events and what happened (it is very raw still and filled with emotions on all sides), you can read a play by play of what happened in this piece by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Here is a map that shows the areas I’m showing and I also have linked the addresses to google maps. The 3rd Precinct is on the right and the fifth precinct (which controls the surrounding neighborhoods including where I live is located on the second dot at 31st and Nicollet). The red dot is the heart of the Uptown Neighborhood at Hennepin Ave and Lake Street. These neighborhoods make up South and Southwest Minneapolis. North and Northeast Minneapolis are not shown in this map but obviously lie north and northeast of Minneapolis.
In the heart of Uptown and not far from my home, Jill Osieki of The Uptown Arts Association loosely began a murals project along Hennepin Avenue at Lake Street which has blossomed into a powerful display of pain, hope, sadness, reconciliation, and a call to action for systemic change. Every single day a new mural seems to be popping up and it is truly incredible to see. When I asked one of the organizers how this all began, I was referred to local folk artist Heather Renaux. I got in contact with Heather and she filled me in on the story of how the grassroots mural project began.
Not long after George Floyd’s death, Jill Osieki of the Uptown Association sent out a call to local artists to work on the murals along Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street in Uptown. Heather jumped on board and helped coordinate the effort with her two friends, Shane Anderson and Greta Sandquist. She also reached out to all the artists in a co-op she is a part of called Creative Badasses. The Creative Badass Collective was formed by a core group of Minnesota-based female artists in 2018 with a common vision to support, motivate, and inspire each other creatively and professionally. Holly Keller and some other local artists from the Creative Badasses Collective joined in such as students from PiM Arts High School (The Visual Arts head, Becca Johannsen, galvanized 60 students to come work at the site, bringing their own designs). Other artists from as far out as Princeton, Minnesota (an hour’s drive away) have joined in for a city-wide, volunteer-led effort to paint the murals. Buildings could ask for a certain theme or have else left it up to the artist to create their own mural.
The project that began with the first murals going up on June 2nd has become so large that the Uptown Art Association is hoping to partner with a larger organization to take over the lead and organize the effort. There are plans to paint murals all throughout East Harriet, Powderhorn, Seward, and Phillips so we will see in the coming weeks what transpires. However, some of the murals are coming down as well because the murals were painted on the plywood covering the windows to protect the businesses during the rioting and looting. Therefore as the businesses begin to reopen sadly some of the murals have been removed.
There is debate about what will happen to the murals once all the businesses reopen. Some talk of creating a museum exhibit or else auctioning them off and donating the proceeds to help rebuild and to charity. I haven’t heard yet what they will do however I confess it will be sad to have them removed from their original homes. Our city has become a living, breathing open-air museum of what happened and it will feel strange to not have each mural in their place.
I first published this post on Monday, June 8th, and just over the weekend I rode my bike around the different neighborhoods and found several more additions. Here they are:
Here are some of the very first murals to go up on Hennepin Avenue South (south of Lake Street).
Here are the murals going up on Thursday, June 4th:
I took these photos on Monday, June 8th of the newly completed murals:
These murals on Penzeys Spices were created by @antonsartworks.
The latest mural completed today June 9th at the Magers & Quinn Bookstore. This one was coordinated by Minnesota artist and educator Amy Cunningham who I introduced myself too and also got to join in the fun painting along with my daughter Sophia. Amy and her team are all art teachers, education workers, and artists from the surrounding suburbs. Amy received the call to action and request for volunteer artists around the city to come in and they were awarded the bookstore storefront. The only request of the bookstore owners was to paint a mural reflecting peace. Amy and her team decided to paint the murals with mandalas and zen tangles that signify peace without using words. The team began yesterday in 95-degree heat and finished today. What I loved so much about this mural is that Amy talked with everyone who walked by asking about the mural and invited them to paint. Our community painted it and even me and my daughter got to help. Every time I drive by now I will remember being a part of this mural.
Across the street on Hennepin Ave South:
And after….(This one was completed by a school)
Murals on Lake Street
If you turn the corner of Hennepin onto Lake, these murals are painted around Calhoun Square.
If you head the other direction down Lake Street (west), you will find these murals.
I also found these murals sprinkled around this area (across the street at the intersection of Hennepin and Lake):
These murals were further south down Hennepin.
Lowry Hill East
Heading North on Hennepin you enter the neighborhood of Lowry Hill East. I found a slew of beautiful murals in this part of town.
A set of murals on Red Cow restaurant at 26th and Hennepin Ave S.
This incredible mural used to be at 2401 Hennepin Ave South on the side of Spyhouse Coffee. It was up for only 48 hours and thankfully I was able to track this magnificent piece of art down through social media. The artists, Antione Jenkins and Josh Browne were at the scene on 35 W when a semi-truck inadvertently raged through a large peaceful protest. The truck driver had gotten on the highway before it was shut down for the protest and as he turned the corner of 35W at full speed he saw the protesters and panicked. Miraculously he was able to slam on the breaks and not a single person was injured. Antione and Josh tried to capture that moment in this incredible mural.
Heading down Franklin Avenue to Lyndale and 22nd you see this mural, again outside a coffee shop.
If you head east down Lake Street towards Lyndale (this area is also called Lynn/Lake), there are some murals that have been popping up around Bryant Lake Bowl.
On Sunday, July 14th, I rode my bike to explore Lyndale more and headed both north and south down Lyndale at Lake Street where I found these murals.
Heading north on Lyndale at Lake:
Across the street on the east side of Lyndale, I found these murals around the Jungle Theater.
Going south on Lyndale past Lake Street, I found these murals.
Heading back east down Lake Street from Lyndale, I found these pieces:
On Sunday, June 14th I rode my bike north on Lyndale Avenue to 25th street heading east through the Whittier neighborhood over to 25th and Nicollet Ave South, an area known as “Eat Street” for all its ethnic restaurants. I found several wonderful murals over there.
The Minnehaha Neighborhood lies west of the Mississippi River and south of the Longfellow Neighborhood. I found these murals up in this area.
Heading East in the Hiawatha neighborhood, I found this collection at 4047 Minnehaha:
The Longfellow neighborhood stretches along the Mississippi River going north-south and along East Lake Street. Once again, a lot of fabulous murals are in this neighborhood.
The Seward Neighborhood is right in the heart of the Fifth Precinct where the peaceful protests turned violent and most of the surrounding buildings were either looted, damaged or destroyed. It has been amazing to see the community-led volunteer groups who immediately helped clean up the streets to make it safe. I drove down there with my daughter shortly after the chaos ended and the clean-up efforts were underway. I wanted her to see it. While there was no art going up there yet, an incredible amount of existing street art lies down Lake Street which I documented a couple of years ago in my post: My Epic Guide to Exploring Street Art in South Minneapolis.
East 38th Street and 3rd Ave
The Seward Coop located at East 38th Street and 3rd Avenue South is only about seven blocks away from Cup Foods. It is in the Bryant Neighborhood which borders Powderhorn. I heard through a Facebook group that a series of murals were painted on the Coop so I went to check them out and they are beautiful.
These stunning murals were created by artist Maiya Lea Hartman @MaiyaLeaArt
This mural was created by Bayou (Donald Thomas Design) @dtdesigntc
This skyline mural was created by #Creatives After Curfew and I found it under artist Katrina Knutson’s Instagram account @katrinak612
The last mural on the Seward Coop is this one below. I have included a list of the artists who created this piece of work.
This exhaustive list of murals going up around the city is by no means complete. There are plenty of streets I’ve missed and will work on adding to the list as time goes by. I also will update the post with more accurate information if I find it (such as who the artists are, how you can follow and support their work, etc).
Finally, I end with my promise to include an excellent resource on how you can help support the various causes in Minneapolis and for the country to help achieve social justice. This is just one resource of many but it gives a lot of different options and links to organizations to follow. There is so much work to be done to rebuild our city and our hope and to make it a place for ALL. As a white woman, I am doing whatever I can to listen to my fellow friends of color, and our community to see where I fit in and can help. So much work needs to be done but I haven’t lost hope.
Further reading on the murals:
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