PLEASE JOIN US for the opening of the Mural on the Ave exhibit at Mia! The event will provide more information about our mural-making process, community engagement and the values and approaches that were the driving forces behind this project. Join mural cohort artists and community members to see photos and process materials, the newly completed short film about the mural, eat food, and celebrate. We will also feature live screen printing by local artist Courtney Cochran, so bring your own shirt or use one of ours!
View the beautiful film by Josephine Lampone HERE!
As we moved into painting, we created systems that allowed us to work in teams, leading different elements of the mural, and communicating intensively as a group. This made it possible to move forward quickly and fairly smoothly while we explored ways to continue making collective decisions and building momentum in the painting stage of the process. We played music, sent paint, brushes up and down our pulley system, spent long days in the heat, waited out the rain, talked with our neighbors and our mural took form. The month of August was a hard push toward the finish line, and we made it.
We finished painting. We varnished. Scaffold came down. After months of engagement, designing, revising, connecting, and painting, we completed the Mural on the Ave at the end of August, 2019. Our celebration was held on September 7th. It was attended by hundreds of community members, with food and beverages from local vendors (Marhaba Grill, Pow Wow Grounds), performances by youth artists connected to Hope’s Teen Tech Center, drumming, and a beautiful opening circle facilitated by Ernie Whiteman.
The unveiling embodied the spirit of our process, centering the communities who made the project possible. We were honored to share the work, stories, and moment of culmination with so many amazing people. Gratitude was the color of the day, and has continued to ripple since.
The Mural On the Ave Artist Cohort has expanded with the intention of centering Native voices in our process and imagery, welcoming three additional artists into the design process; Missy Whiteman, James Autio and Simone Rendon. All three bring their creative skills, insights and valuable perspectives to the table. Among these, Missy led the cohort in identifying and incorporating Lakota, Ojibwe, and Arapaho symbols, aesthetics, and imagery to be incorporated into the design. Part of this process involved connecting with tribal elders and artists to provide guidance and permission on these and all elements of our mural design.
Feedback Session + Finalizing Design
Our design process has involved intensive work by Cohort members to identify themes that emerged from the World cafe, Interviews, PPL listening session and many community conversations. With these themes at the center, we began to sketch and visually translate the many ideas into a design. The Cohort of 10 artists split up into design teams and collaborated on three initial design concepts.
We presented the three design concepts at the Community Feedback Session at Hope community on Thursday, July 18th. Many folks who came to the World Cafe returned and gave us their feedback that helped us reshape our design. People wanted to see more of the rich diversity of Philips represented as well as real-life call to action against the various forms of oppression that threatens the residents of the Phillips Neighborhood.
The most recurring and strongest themes we encountered created the basis of our design choices.
indigenous care of the earth, protecting the sacred home that is Philips
Immigration (human trafficking, family separation, boarding schools
Plants that represent different cultures in philips and world
Agitation, call to real-life action: historical vignettes of organizing and call to action now
Diversity: representing the past and current residents of Philips
Projection + Painting
When our design was finalized, We used a projector at night to transfer the design to the mural wall. Several Members of the Artist Cohort projected the design over four nights. We used two large lifts to reach the height of the building and a very powerful projector that Mia lent to us.
Now that our design is on the wall we are making progress with painting! Our method for painting consists of sections and section leads. We start with painting the background colors and work our way to the foreground figure.
Community Painting Day, Saturday August 17th, 12pm- 4pm
We invite community members to join us in painting sections of the mural on a synthetic material called polytab, that will be laid on tables at the mural site, PPL’s Career Center Parking lot, 1021 E Franklin.
Once painted, these sections will be installed on the wall using industrial strength acrylic gel; this method is similar to hanging wallpaper. Painting on poly tab allows everyone to paint without the danger and physical challenge of painting directly on the wall.
We will be painting sunflowers with many vignettes of Phillips community organizing in their centers. Sunflowers are beautiful and have the ability to pull toxins from polluted urban soil. The vignettes inside the sunflower depict moments of resistance in Philips, such as the Roof Depot fight and American Indian Movement. It is important to keep these histories alive, that is why we chose to include them and more into the design.
Save the date! Mural on the Ave Unveiling Celebration!
Saturday, September 7th, 2-5pm at Mural Site, 1021 E Franklin
A community mural project is about convening people and listening with open hearts to what is alive.
The Mural On the Ave project has created two intentional spaces thus far to bring people together to reflect on important memories, moments and movements that have shaped and are shaping the ecology of Phillips Community. In these spaces over 40 people have been present, shared conversations and formed connections to each other and this project.
How do we engage with people?
It’s a multi-level/dimensional process that invites depth and continued relationships.
These connections are a gift and we are extremely grateful to the individuals who have shared their perspectives and stories
It is emergent; fluid, moves with the needs and responsive to gaps.
It is conscious of inequities and attempts to hold justice at the core of the process.
What does engagement look like?
Conducted 12 interviews with longtime Phillips residents who reflect the diversity of demographics and experience in the community
Invited this group to come to our World Cafe Community Conversation
Asked this group to invite 3-4 people each to the World Cafe
Held World Cafe event
Reaching out to organizations working at the intersections of place-keeping and anti-displacement
Held Listening Session at PPL
Street engagement on Franklin Ave
Community engagement at The World Cafe:
The World Cafe Community Conversation was held at Hope Community on Saturday June 8th, and 35 people attended. The space that was created, was incredibly generative in many ways; people connected and reconnected to each other and shared personal visions, memories and perspectives. It was a space of building connections, relationships and stories that all enter into the pool of possibilities for the mural design. The Artist Cohort planned every piece of the event intentionally and desired to honor everyone who attended. The energy in the room felt united and beautiful.
In three separate rounds of questions; table hosts, Katrina, Claudia, Juliette, Mattie and Nell, invited small groups to respond to these questions:
What brought you to the Phillips neighborhood? What keeps you here?
If the Phillips neighborhood was a person, how would you describe them? (values, smell, attitude, personality, characteristics)
What’s your favorite memory or experience of the Phillips neighborhood?
What are your dreams and aspirations for the Phillips neighborhood?What seed can this mural plant? What does the harvest look like?
Each of the 5 small groups responded to these questions with drawings and dialogue and were then asked to write 3 notes to summarize the most profound aspects of the conversation. From each round of conversation about 20 notes were received from the tables and then were organized by the lead facilitators, Magdalena and Camila. The following themes were identified: Toxins, Ancient Indian Trail, Maternal, Social Movements, Native Power, Welcoming, Connection, Art, Sharing Meals, Gardens, Children.
PPL Listening Session:
The PPL listening session was held at the Collaborative Village Initiative, one of PPL’s affordable housing buildings in Phillips. Residents attended and shared conversation about personal histories and relationships to PPL and the Phillips neighborhood. Themes that emerged: Phillips vs, greater Minneapolis, place keeping, health, geographical location of Phillips in Minneapolis, the new park space (peavey park), pathway to exit low income status, to move out of affordable housing.
Further engagement: convening and connecting with Native Artists. The mural will be located on Franklin and 11th, which has significant political and social history for the native community in Minneasota for many reasons. We are reaching out to Native Artists and are seeking the opportunity to convene, connect and see what opportunities for collaboration, emerge from the conversations.
Feedback session: We look forward to re-convening the many people we’ve connected with, at the upcoming feedback session. In this space, we will continue the conversations and relationships that have been seeded. And everyone will have the opportunity to see and discuss the visual translation of the themes that emerged from the engagement process.
During this session we dove into developing our engagement plan, and together are deeply thoughtful about the process. We will involve community members and leaders; people who hold community knowledge in their various experiences, with multiple levels and textures of engagement. What we have cooking is nearly ready, and we are excited to share what is to come.
As we get to know each other and establish our group commitments we cultivate our workspace as a manifestation of our dream world that we can bring to the forefront in how we engage with Philips Neighborhood.
In this session we dove into sharing and developing our personal and collective goals for ourselves as a cohort and our hopes for this project. It is clear we have a shared value of forming honest supportive relationships with each other that will allow us to engage deeply and meaningfully with Communities of Phillips. We bring many skills in visual arts, facilitation, embodiment, storytelling and existing relationships to Philips Neighborhood. Our beautiful challenge is to engage deeply rather than widely within the timeline of this project.
Thursday, April 4th, POV hosted the first of many Artist Cohort Sessions, where the seven participating artist-organizers, Claudia Valentino, Juliette Myers, Magdalena Kaluza, Mattie Weiss, Nell Pierce, Camila Leiva, and Katrina Knutson, shared space for the first time! All are coming from different backgrounds and experiences but are deeply focused on the power of community art and its potential to create pathways for the many communities of Philips Neighborhood to be elevated and represented in what will become a large-scale mural on Franklin Avenue.
POV had the opportunity to walk over to Project for Pride in Living (PPL) to learn about some of PPL’s history and introduce ourselves as the Artist Cohort. Everyone shared their story and what calls them to this work. A common thread that emerged from these conversations was the importance of process; how does the pace, design and intention of community engagement invite participation or not?
This work is guided by the desire and commitment to connect and contribute to the strength of Phillips neighborhood, by deep listening, sharing stories and histories and holding space for the challenges, tensions and power of Phillips Neighborhood.