Minneapolis has long been known for its theater and music scenes, not to mention MIA and the Walker Art Center, but it doesn’t end there. Art is literally spilling onto our streets in the form of commissioned murals. Murals are seemingly everywhere you look, but here are a few to get you started on your outdoor art crawl.
“The Times They Are A-Changin’”
We’ll start with what is sure to go down in history as one of the most famous murals in Minneapolis: Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra’s Bob Dylan mural. Completed in just two weeks in 2015, the three-part mural depicts Dylan in the early, mid and current era of his career, with a hypnotic kaleidoscope background. You can’t miss it. It’s a massive 160 feet wide and five stories tall. The piece also has lyrics from the song of the same title.
Not much is known about the mural incorporating two sides of this building (currently home to Los Campeones Gym), including its name, but it sure is cool. The ground-to-roof mural, featuring an Aztec Temple, a fiery sun, with jungle, water and mountains in the background faces the alley around back.
It’s closed now, but the Mosaic Café fully embraced its name with this wonderful piece on the north wall. The building is currently occupied by an auto repair shop and a law office, who have thankfully not seen fit to touch this incredible work.
Facing the Taco Bell parking lot on the side of the Gorditas El Gordo building, this one-story, building-long mural depicts a lively, uplifting historic street scene in an anonymous Mexican locale. There’s certainly a lot going on here, which is kind of the appeal, but we dig how everyone appears to be in weekend mode, shopping, visiting, singing and dancing.
By Thomasina TopBear, Holly Miskitoos Henning and other community artists, this mural gives thanks in three Indigenous languages. "Miigwech," "thank you" in Ojibwe, is decorated with flowers and fruit connected by a vine to represent the Anishinaabe or Ojibwe tribal nation. The mural is a thank you to those who protected the Division of Indian Work's building during social unrest in 2020.
Facing the parking lot of the tiny 1029 Bar is this gem, done by prolific local art collective Broken Crow’s Mike Fitzsimmons and John Grider. The squirrels’ expressions make the piece, with one looking perturbed at the other’s paddling efforts. Though the artists never mention it, we wonder if this also isn’t a subtle commentary on global warming and pollution?
Behind the Sheridan Room restaurant is yet another effort from the Broken Crow collective, with help from globe-hopping graffiti artist OverUnder. We’re not sure about the symbolism here, but we can’t stop staring.
This lovely collage of the history of the neighborhood has just about everything. A scattering of Scandinavian, Latin, East African, Caribbean and Asian flags, a light rail train, and the infamous Cedar Riverside apartments among much else. The mural was done by the nearby Coyle Community Center.
Artist Rock “Cyfi” Martinez, from nearby Bloomington, took about six hours to complete this Prince mural, just after his death. It’s about one story tall and, interestingly, includes Prince’s one-time symbol instead of his name. Martinez originally planned the mural as a “get well” message during the brief period between Prince falling ill and his death. He painted the mural anyway as a present to Minneapolis to help with “the grieving process.”
Thanks to Los Angeles artist Jonas Never, you can now find a newly painted Prince mural on Washington Avenue in Minneapolis' North Loop! Located at Floyd's 99 Barbershop, it is a fitting spot to see Prince just 3 blocks from Bunkers Music Bar & Grill, where he was known to listen, hang and occasionally sit in.
You may have noticed the trend of bars donating exterior walls as a canvas. Well, here’s another excellent example, covering the entire two-story, east wall of the 4th Street Saloon building. North Minneapolis’ artist Charles Caldwell welcomes the world to North Minneapolis through his mural that depicts a series of jazz musicians, alongside singer Billie Holiday, with the downtown Minneapolis skyline in the background. The mural shows how music can be a universal way of communication and represents the creative community in North Minneapolis.
Because of its historic significance. The Music Wall on the side of the old Schmitt Music Company building isn’t winning any awards for artistic vision, but it’s nonetheless famous thanks to serving as a backdrop for a 1977 snapshot of a soon-to-be famous Prince.The mural gets a scattering of hardcore Prince fans visiting to recreate the photo starring themselves. For the music nerds, the piece is the piano part for “Gaspard de la Nuit,” by French composer Maurice Ravel, specifically the third movement, called “Scarbo.”
This mural is featured on the side of Theatre in the Round, the oldest running theatre in Minneapolis. Completed by renowned 3D artist John Pugh, it is the first of its kind in Minnesota*Photo courtesy of Theatre in the Round
“Baby I’m a Star”
Although this mural is tucked away next to an open parking lot, this downtown attraction should not be missed. It is fittingly placed near the famous Orpheum Theatre which has brought some of the biggest Broadway shows to town. Painted by artist Greg Gossel, the mural quotes a famous Prince lyric giving a special connection to Minneapolis.
This mural welcomes visitors from all over by showing off a famous view of downtown Minneapolis and the Stone Arch Bridge. The angle is from along St Anthony Main a picturesque part of Northeast Minneapolis where this mural is located.
A perfect celebration of colors and Latino culture created by Venezuelan artist Pablo Kalaka. This mural wraps around the building of the neighborhood favorite Mercado Central and shows multiple depictions of the culture.
Pablo Kalaka, a muralist and illustrator from Venezuela, flew into Minnesota to complete the mural along the Bloomington Avenue side of Mercado Central, which took three months to finish. The culture and history of the Latino marketplace and Mercado Central's origins is represented in the mural.
A newer mural near the RightSource building it features a couple facing each other made up of different animations and was painted by South Minneapolis-based artist Wundr. This area is a hot spot for murals as there are few others nearby to be discovered.
Commissioned by local company Modern Day Me, this mural live on the side of the Lift Garage building. The idea behind the mural was to reflect The Lift's commitment to community, peace and building relationships. The Lift Garage is a nonprofit with a mission to move people out of poverty and homelessness by providing low-cost car repair and maintenance.
Created by City Mischief, a collective of BIPOC artists creating and organizing murals in the Twin Cities, this mural is meant to reflect and celebrate the diversity and strengths of families in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods of Minneapolis, and provide a welcoming presence for families and individuals accessing services at The Family Partnership building where this mural resides.
Commissioned in by X Games, Meet Minneapolis and Hennepin Theatre Trust in collaboration with the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum. This mural was created to commemorate the X Games three-year tenure in Minneapolis and as a parting gift to the city. It was created by local artist Reggie LeFlore to celebrate the gifts and abilities of the youth of downtown Minneapolis.
Completed by artist Hiero Veiga, a street painter from Florida who created the piece on the exterior wall of Miami’s Museum of Graffit, this 100-foot-tall painting depicts portraits taken of Prince throughout his life and is the newest edition in downtown Minneapolis.