Iron Range artist paints Minnesota activist mural for Duluth garden
DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - A Hibbing artist painted a mural featuring several different Northland and Minnesota activists known for their work.
They say the seeds of change take time to grow.
“This is like a memorial to the previous generation from the newer generation,” Michael Mathews, the artist behind the “Community Seeders” mural, said.
The mural is now at the Lincoln Park Community Garden, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Duluth, having been worked on for three months up on the Range.
Eight prominent activists and their biographies are featured.
“Xavier Bell is the first one at the mural, Steve O’Neil, Renee Van Nett,” Mathews said.
Also on the mural are Skip Sandman, Larry Aitken, Ethel Nance, Paul Wellstone, and John Lyght.
Their faces aren’t new, but they are to the garden.
Mathews said there was a little pressure in painting.
“It makes you really not want to get something wrong,” he said.
Mathews used obituaries, social media, and newspapers to include information about each person on the mural.
In total, he only used five colors to paint their faces.
“It was a learning experience,” he said. “I wasn’t familiar with hardly anyone before the project.”
One of the most unique features about this is actually the QR codes that are pasted on it. You can scan each code, and get information about each featured person.
Mathews said it was hard not to include everything when painting.
“It was hard for me to not put as much as possible into the biographies,” he said. “That was an issue.”
A mural that isn’t just faces is more challenging but for Mathews, more rewarding.
“It just makes you want to do a good job,” he said.
A good job for those that have come before.
“These people, some of the things they did, it’s super impressive,” he said.
And hope for those that will come after.
“There’s gotta be another way to do all the same things, all the charity, all the community work, those still all have to be done, but there’s just finding a new way to do it,” Mathews said.
For more information about the Lincoln Park Community Garden, you can visit their website here.
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