NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday May 30th 2017

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“Together We Grow” Mural enhances Bloom-Lake

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Alley Collaborated News

“Together We Grow” is a vibrant view and a soulful experience made of ceramic and glass mosaic enhanced with painted interludes on an oft graffiti-“marked” but nondescript stucco wall at Bloomington Avenue and Lake Street’s northwest corner.

In any language–“Together We Grow” (Eng.), “Ensemble Nous Grandissons” (Fr.), “Wir Gemeinsam Wachsen” (Ger.), “Sammen Vi Vokser” (Nor.); “Wadajir Baan Ku Kornaa” (So.), “Juntos Crecemos” (Sp.)–it encompasses the creative energy of 300 people making their “mark” –each knowing “your footprints are the path and nothing else,” and creating a new reality for the most neighborhood in the state while clearly stating to all others the that dynamic power of art emboldens the steps of individuals and to unifies the steps of a community.

It is a highlight of the four year-old Semilla (seed) Project of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (15th Av and 28th St.) and the inauguration of “Phillips Avenue of the Arts” which is a rebranding-of-the-community initiative and expose’ of arts linking community groups, business and residents together visually.

The mural was dedicated Saturday, October 26th, heralding the work of many school children–including from the Autism Spectrum Program at Andersen Community School–senior citizens, families and block clubs who learned mosaic techniques and created the 1400 square foot mural on the La Mexicana building.

Patrick Cabello Hansel, co-pastor of St. Paul’s says, “Phillips Community is blessed with incredible diversity and talented, courageous people. Giving people tools to create beautiful art together also empowers them to work together to build community.”

Semilla Project has completed 19 murals —from garage murals done with neighbors to combat graffiti, to two large scale mosaic murals on Andersen School and placed over 30 mosaic flower planters throughout the community.

The project has partnered with Waite House, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, All My Relations Gallery, The Division of Indian Works and Community Emergency Services to bring quality arts to people where they live, with a special focus on reaching those who don’t have access to such experiences, including those with physical challenges. To date, over 1800 people have participated in mosaic workshops and classes. Greta McLain, the project’s lead artist and mentor, has done murals in Philadelphia, Memphis, Boston, Buenos Aires, Paris, and other Minneapolis neighborhoods.. She says: “This mural project is an important gateway marker into Phillips Community. Pieced by youth groups throughout the neighborhood, hundreds of volunteers, and with more than a month of installation time, it shows the neighborhood’s commitment to growing its positive image, and also the spectacular collective ability of Phillip’s residents. It has been an honor to be the lead artist of the Semilla Project and to watch and witness art grow in Phillip’s during the last four years. This mural is really an extraordinary culmination of the small mosaic planter project we started in 2010.”

Saturday’s activities were a part of the weekend 3rd Annual “Taste of Phillips” Festival, which included an open mike on Friday night, and the opening of the youth photography project “Under Construction.”

The Dedication had live music–Radio Pocho, Axolotl, Holly Dunagan, Sister Species, Bomba Umoya, Alma Andina, fun activities for children, and spoken words of appreciation and celebration by Greta McLain (lead artist), Sandy Spieler Heart of the Beast Theatre), Claudia Valentino & Vicky Melchor (top assistants), Fatima Castro (St.Paul’s Young Leader), Marisa Carr (Division of Indian Works) and Patrick Cabello Hansel as MC.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; and from a City of Minneapolis Innovative Graffiti Prevention Micro-Grant.

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