First mural unveiled for Native American Cultural Corridor

Charlie Stately, Pat Ballenger and Juanita Espinosa sit in front of the mural that bears their likenesses on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Toni Randolph

The first mural on the newly-designated Native American Cultural Corridor was unveiled Friday in Minneapolis. Three local Native American leaders are honored in the mural.

The images depicted in the mural include a community activist who worked with the American Indian Movement, a founder of the arts organization Native Arts Circle and the owner of a local craft store.

Justin Heunemann, the president of the Native American Community Development Institute, said the mural is small part of a bigger project for Franklin Avenue and the Native American community.

"This is just one of, I hope, to be many projects, murals, etc., that continue to honor our community here," he said. "We've been on the avenue for 50 years plus."

Minneapolis artist Bobby Wilson designed the mural. He said he wants the public to get two messages from the art work.

"One, I want them to see a Native aesthetic. Two, I just want them to see a quality piece of public art in Minneapolis," he said. "Not only does it represent the city, it represents my culture and the people that live here and created all these awesome programs that are housed in these buildings."

The mural is painted on the side of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe building. Local artists designed and painted the art work.

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