In the past, a busy railroad underpass in Minneapolis’s Como neighborhood was dimly lit. Often its shadowy retaining walls were vandalized.
Today, the underpass is an attraction, with a colorful mural that conveys the neighborhood's vibe.
A group led by representatives of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus
's student and community relations office created the "gateway mural." It welcomes people to and from Como and campus, explains Ryan Pusch, who works for the university’s student and community relations office.
The mural’s design was inspired largely by feedback from the neighborhood, he says. It includes bright colors, bicyclists, joggers, a train and local landmarks such as the Stone Arch Bridge
and Bunge Tower
. Children’s illustrations are also incorporated onto one wall.
For example, one child’s work shows the earth, with a pair of hands around it. “It symbolizes caring about the world and the larger community,” Pusch says.
Local artists Sara Udvig
and Carly Schmitt,
who came up with the design, have also worked with dozens of volunteers who’ve shown up for community painting days in recent weeks. “I’m glad we got to work with them and that they’ve stuck with it,” he says.
Although the final touches are still being added, “It feels good to see it on the walls,” he says, adding that the creation of the mural has been a lengthy process. That has to do with the fact that the nearly $12,000 in grant money trickled in sporadically.
The Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA)
, the fiscal sponsor of the mural, and the Student's Coop
have helped bring in funding for the project and volunteers.
“I’m proud of what we were able to cobble together over the past year,” Pusch says.
It's already a success, according to Pusch. “A lot of people are drawn to it,” he says, adding, “All of the responses we’re getting to it are ecstatically positive.”
Source: Ryan Pusch, student and community relations, University of Minnesota
Writer: Anna Pratt