In 2011, a powerful tornado touched down in the northside Minneapolis neighborhood of Jordan, killing one person and injuring dozens. Downed trees snapped power lines and the lingering smell of natural gas along the neighborhood streets forced 200 residents to spend three days inside an emergency shelter at the nearby Northeast Armory. When North Minneapolis artist Charles Caldwell was invited to paint a mural on the front of the 4th Street Saloon, he dedicated it to the community of North Minneapolis and its resilience in overcoming the tornado. The YouTube below tells the story of North Minneapolis, and the artist explains the meaning behind his work.
The mural, organized through the Northside Arts Collective and funded through the McKnight Foundation, features the downtown Minneapolis city skyline and a series of jazz musicians, alongside a depiction of the singer Billie Holiday. A banner proclaiming the title of the mural, “Welcome to North Minneapolis,” is spread across the top in bright red letters that contrast against the sky. The mural is alive and vibrant with movement, a perfect reflection of the change that has occurred around it in the neighborhood.
North Minneapolis is considered one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Minneapolis. It not only welcomes but thrives on community-led businesses. If you stop by to see the mural between June and early October, take time to visit the West Broadway Farmers’ Market, open Fridays from 3–7 p.m., just three minutes away. It displays a variety of fruits and vegetables, jewelry, handmade crafts, and natural products for skin and hair care. The community’s celebration of art is visible through its many beautiful murals on display, including the one at the 4th Street Saloon. During the summer months, the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl walks visitors through streets that tell its story of resilience and celebration, painted onto the walls of its buildings.
Cover image "Welcome to North Minneapolis" by railsnroots is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr.