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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

Letter to the Editor – Dec. ’23

In Response to the City’s Survey on the Future of Throne Plaza

My name is Edric Knight and I’ve lived on the southside since 1990. I was here when Throne Plaza was constructed and supported Rafala Green through my company donating used office equipment, chairs, typewriters, food and furniture for her art center.
At the time I lived in an apartment just around the corner. The art center had opened, and out of curiosity I walked in to see scores of children and teens being taught to appreciate their cultures through dance, music, art and education. That’s where I met Rafala, and I was hooked. For some children this was the only food they may have had during the day. The typewriters were used to teach office skills. Remediation classes were taught by other volunteers. The young people shined with pride.
Rafala was recognized and celebrated but it wasn’t without resistance. What I did observe is how the children of the community responded to Rafala and the programs at the center. It made me feel so good to see the project completed. The Art Center kept so many kids off the street engaged in constructive pursuits. Many were caught before they would fall between the cracks.
Throne Plaza is a symbol of hope and the possibility for a community that has historically been marginalized, a voice for the voiceless. It serves as a tribute to Rafala. I inspected it and there’s no observable damage. The wicker arch needs repair and painting. I would think that Minneapolis Parks and Recreation would maintain it as they do artwork at any other park.
There were hundreds of hours committed to construction of the project, from inception to where it finally rests today. That was many years ago. I was so happy when I finally saw it finished, I refer to it as hallowed ground.

-Edrick Knight

Editors’ Note: A fellowship program was established in Rafala Green’s name by Artspace. Learn more about Rafala and the program at https://www.artspace.org/rafala.

To go to the City of Minneapolis Public Art Survey on Throne Plaza, scan this QR Code:

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