The Purple One And Our Painted City

April 28, 2016
Prince Uptown

Rock “Cyfi” Martinez’s Prince tribute in Uptown.

It’s been one week since the world lost the creative genius, mind-blowing performer and benevolent philanthropist Prince Rogers Nelson. Prince’s sudden death shocked the world, and Minneapolis has been covered in a veil of grief and sea of tears ever since the news broke. Paisley Park and First Avenue have become backdrops to makeshift memorials covered in purple roses, thank-you notes and tears (I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to listen to Purple Rain without crying again).

But there are other tributes popping up around the globe in more permanent ways. Rock “Cyfi” Martinez painted a mural at 26th & Hennepin in Uptown last weekend as his way to help fans heal. Two new Prince murals have popped up in Chicago (at Logan Square and Avalon Park), another in Trenton, NJ and an Australian artist, Mr. G Hoete Art painted a mural in Sydney and is hoping to raise the funds to paint another, larger Prince mural in Minnesota.

Murals are often about celebrating life – whether it is the life of an individual we wish to honor or the life of our community and the things that we collectively cherish. Murals can make us smile, they can make us remember, they can make us think, and they can simply brighten a gray day by adding color, texture and light. All of the new Prince murals got me thinking about the many murals around Minneapolis that I enjoy regularly so I took some time this week to capture images of a handful around Downtown, Uptown and South Minneapolis (I’ll get you next time Northeast and St. Paul).


10th & Marquette – The Schmitt Music Mural

Photo by Robert Whitman, 1977

Photo by Robert Whitman, 1977

My first “real” job was at a small web design shop a block away from this behemoth, but my memories of it extend long before my early twenties. My family would come up to Minneapolis from southern Minnesota when I was a child and I remember driving past it en route to Dayton’s. Prince also had one of his first photo shoots in front of this mural in 1977 (because it all comes back to Prince).

Find out more about the history of this mural and the music.


5th & Hennepin – Bob Dylan by Eduardo Kobra

Another behemoth music mural in downtown Minneapolis, but far brighter than the Schmitt Music wall; the Dylan mural was completed in the fall 2015. The mural is truly a sight to behold and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see something along this size and scale for Prince in the next year or two.


12th & Hennepin – Butcher & The Boar by Adam Turman

Adam’s murals grace the interiors and exteriors of buildings all over our fair city. From many local breweries to the Guthrie Theater to Children’s Hospital, Adam’s signature style is recognizable and always uplifting. I went to college with Adam and enjoy following his latest and greatest projects, but his work for B&B is still one of my favorites.

29th & Lyndale Ave S – American Flag by Scott LoBaido

While I don’t consider myself a patriotic individual, I do enjoy this rendering of Old Glory painted on James Ballentine VFW Post #246 in Uptown.


East Lake Street – Various Artists

HeartoftheBeastIf you’re looking for a more heavily saturated area of our painted city, take a drive down East Lake Street. More walls than not are covered in bright colors and artists don’t just stop at paint, but incorporate other materials such as mirrors and mosaic tiles into their designs. It’s an inspiring drive and don’t forget to look down alleys and side streets or you could miss the massive mural on the rear of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater which incorporates among many mask shapes, a sloth.


Howe Neighborhood (43rd Ave S & 39th St E) – Curiosity. Laughter. Discovery.

I used to occasionally pass this gem painted on a garage when driving my girls to their old school. It puts a smile on my face every time I see it and it serves as a reminder to always be curious, to never stop laughing, and never stop discovering.

Thanks to the power of Google, I was able to discover that the work was commissioned by the owner, with the initial painting done by California based artist Locust and completed by Benjamin Davis Brockman in 2013.


So, where are your favorite local murals?