Client: City of Bloomington
Location: Bloomington, MN, United States
Completion date: 2021
City of Bloomington
Curator Selection Facilitation & Project Support
Forecast Public Art
Curator & Project/Event Coordination, Artists
Christina Vang, Ka Oskar Ly, Teeko Yang
Ua Si Creative
Mary Anne Quiroz
City Mischief featuring Thomasina Topbear and Tom Jay
WE is a mural tapestry interconnecting facets that reflect the growing communities in Bloomington and nearby. The imagery reflects abstracted elements of natural worlds that draw across human conditions, profound teachings, and otherworldly realms. Symbols carry meanings inspired by culture bearers, ancestors, and continuous state of movements. WE come from polyphonic wilderness. Stemming from seeds and weeds, rivers and oceans, deserts and jungles, plains and mountains.
WE was curated and produced by Ua Si Creative, commissioned by City of Bloomington in partnership with Artistry as part of our creative placemaking efforts to establish a more vibrant, distinctive community located in the South Loop District of Bloomington, Minnesota. The series of murals is located on two walls surrounding an Xcel Energy substation at the corner of American Boulevard and 30th Avenue South. At 9,000 square feet and 752 feet long, this is one of the longest murals in Minnesota.
Learn more, and read all of the artist statements at www.blm.mn/southloopmural.
The goal of the WE Mural was to create a captivating mural that highlights stories, enhances the walkability of the area, and contributes to the vibrancy of the South Loop. As a rapidly developing community, residents and other stakeholders provided the feedback that they wanted to see more points of interest, and places that they could enjoy walking to in their neighborhood. Our Creative Placemaking Commissioners identified a very long wall surrounding an Xcel Energy substation, facing American Blvd, which is a busy road, and 30th Avenue, which will eventually face a new residential complex and grocery store.
We wanted to work with a curator to consider the entire length of the wall, but work with multiple artists to create a varied, but cohesive design. This part of Bloomington is especially diverse, so it was also important to us to work with BIPOC artists who create art that this community could identify with. We also were very interested in supporting emerging curators and artists, knowing that this was a large-scale project that could potentially support career growth.
The City of Bloomington in partnership with Artistry worked with Forecast Public Art on the curator selection process. Ua Si Creative was selected by a stakeholder panel and approved by the Creative Placemaking Commission.
Ua Si Creative coordinated the artistic team members who completed a series of murals located on the two walls. They researched the history and current assets of the area, connected with local organizations and residents, and invited the community to help paint the mural.
As a dedication, WE invited communities to a Sunset Block Party, a celebration that reimagined what it means to claim space, place, and community from daylight into the night.
"Art deepens connections between people and places by intersecting culture and creativity. We’re excited to partner with the City and Artistry to bring this vision to life and are hopeful this will inspire more community-powered investments for the wellbeing of local residents," said Ka Oskar Ly, Ua Si co-founder.
Process & background video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z84mldBvbkM
Sunset Block Party video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWdxD6NfpAY
The theme of the mural, titled WE, reimagines the South Loop of Bloomington—past, present and future. South Loop is a place that houses many things, including intersections, creativity, diversity and growth. The mural intertwines narratives, roots and futures by intersecting differences and commonalities. Curatorial Statement: WE intertwines our narratives, roots and futures by intersecting where we are, our differences and commonalities. Communities are not monolithic - each is nuanced and diverse in their own ways; lived in our bodies, our words, our actions, our beliefs. These times and realities have pulled us apart, together and against our breaking spirits, in search of hope. Multiple truths and histories exist and it matters who is doing the telling. WE can find common ground when we empathize, and learn ourstories. Ask yourself why, be curious, listen, reflect. WE mural tapestry is inspired by these narratives weaving past, present, and future as depicted by six local BIPOC artists and artists groups. Thank you to the following partners for their support: Forecast Public Art, McGough, Metro Transit and Xcel Energy.