Murals & Public Art

Pieces Worth Visiting

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.
Location: 5th Street and Hennepin Ave
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Aztec Temple Panorama

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. 
Location: 107 West 28th St. (corner of West 28th Street and Blaisdell)
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Mosaic Café

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.
Location: 3019 Minnehaha Ave.
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Gorditas El Gordo

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.
Location: 207 East Lake St.
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Juxtaposition Arts

Gracing the front of the Juxtaposition Arts building is this blue, purple and red tapestry of arts imagery. It’s one of those pieces that you can find something new each time you look at it.
Location: 1108 West Broadway Ave.
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Paddling Squirrels

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?Location: 1029 Marshall St NE
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Sheridan Room

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.
Location: 339 13th Ave. NE, way around back in the parking lot
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Shark Attack

Facing the patio of the Nomad World Pub is this wondrous, two-story piece. Alas, it’s difficult to do the mural photographic justice due to the nearby trees.
Location: 501 Cedar Ave S.
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West Wall Cedar Cultural Center

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.
Location: 416 Cedar Ave.
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Prince Mural

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.”
Location: 26th Street and Hennepin Avenue, on the back of the building
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Welcome to North Minneapolis 

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’ storied music history is depicted, with the downtown Minneapolis skyline in the background.
Location: 328 West Broadway Ave, facing the east parking lot
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Music Wall

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.”
96 S 10th St, on the parking lot side of the building
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Tromp-L'oeil

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

If you’d like to see an exhaustive list of every outdoor mural in Minneapolis, this Flickr account has done a thorough job of documenting them. LINK: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_allan/sets/72157637197421984/