The recent unveiling and celebration of four major works of outdoor art on Snelling Avenue were the culmination of a year’s worth of effort by artists, business owners, foundations and the city of St. Paul.
In 2014, The Knight Foundation named John Oppenheimer the winner of its inaugural Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul. He became the lead artist of the Midway Murals project, and was charged with forming a neighborhood public art workgroup, commissioning muralists, and coordinating the installation and long-term maintenance of the murals. Midway Murals hope was to transform a six-block stretch of a major thoroughfare in St. Paul into a more vibrant and visually arresting streetscape.
The foundation awarded the project $25,000 in matching funds, for a total of $50,000 towards a total project budget of $90,000, almost all of which will pay artists for their labor and materials.
The four selected artists (Greta McLain, Eric Mattheis, Lori Greene and Yuya Negishi) all worked in large scale, using paint, mosaics or glass over brick or stucco walls, each covering hundreds of square feet. Each work has a plaque with the artist’s name and statement attached to the building.