Marz Kirchoff, Contributor
Twelve artists brightened up the side of a building on University Ave. in Frogtown, St. Paul with a community mural. The project, carried out over the weekend of Sept. 26, was a community funded collaboration with Creatives After Curfew, City Mischief and Victoria Theater.
Creatives After Curfew is a decentralized collective of BIPOC and queer artists and allies who share resources, skills and knowledge in an effort to create art that soothes, remembers, builds and imagines a future rooted in justice and liberation. City Mischief is a group of Indigenous, Black, and Latinx artists creating community based murals and events in the Twin Cities. Victoria Theater Arts Center is a small non-profit who aims to build community power in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods.
Contributing artists from these organizations included Alex Smith, Bayou, Charles Garcia, Chineze Okolo, Geno Okok, Ghor, Grover Hogan, Holly Mikitoos Henning, Maiya Lea Hartman, Maria Robinson, Thomasina Topbear, and Winfrey Oenga. Each artist had their own 8’x8’ section of the wall to express themes of love, unity, justice, equity and cooperation in their own way.
Featured artist Grover Hogan, during an in-person interview with the author, said that “in the wake of the court case ruling in regards to the murder of Breonna Taylor, I felt like there needed to be an emphasis on the protection of Black lives, particularly women and other over looked groups in the Black community. But I also wanted to make the mural positive; I wanted to shift the focus from Black death to a celebration of Black life.”
Since this was a community based event, people were encouraged to come out to the mural, while wearing a mask at a distance, and watch the artists’ ideas come to life while listening to the live DJ set.
The mural collaboration also doubled as a food drive for people to bring items in support of Feeding Frogtown. Feeding Frogtown was created to support and strengthen families living in that community. There is a weekly food distribution to St. Paul City School and satellite distributions to Wilder and Como apartments. The program became vital after the sudden loss of two food shelves in the area.
The wall of murals is located at 811 University Avenue in St. Paul, MN. Everyone is encouraged to view it.