Wrecking ball will likely claim Minneapolis mural

The news that downtown Minneapolis-based Merit Printing is moving caused me to wonder what will happen to the building’s mural. Here’s a photo I snapped on a rainy morning this week. Not even the gray sky can hold back these colors!

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A Merit spokesman says the mural goes when the building is demolished to make way for housing. No easy way to save a mural on an exterior masonry wall.

Got me thinking about murals, and, wow, what a long and colorful history. My colleague Nikki Tundel has collected some of the best images of murals around the Twin Cities.

Mural creation probably reached a historic peak in Minnesota during the Great Depression with federal tax dollars funding Works Progress Administration projects.

Here are images courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society about the WPA Federal Art Project in a book by Minnesota by Thomas O’Sullivan.

And then there’s muralist Richard Haines. He created works portraying Minnesota’s first residents, American Indians, being affected by and then displaced as a result of white settlement. Here’s a 1940 image courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society image of one from the Fort Snelling Round Tower.

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If you click the above link you’ll see Haines’ amazing resume. By one account, the Richard Haines Fort Snelling Round Tower murals do not survive. They were destroyed several decades ago.