Thursday, August 8, 2013

Workshop on 35th and Chicago- Sponsored by PPNA

The evening of July 25th found us on the corner of 35th street and Chicago in front of Pillsbury House. We were technically across the street from the Central Neighborhood in Powderhorn Neighborhood, and the event was sponsored by PPNA, the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association. Why do a workshop outside of the Central Neighborhood? Our neighbors are important to us, and while a line on a map is definite and clear, in reality, our lines are more blurred.

As 35th street and Chicago is a busy intersection, we had a great crowd! Many people walked by and decided to join in the fun, some as they were waiting for their bus. We had a lot of partners that evening- Jakeeno's Pizza and Pasta, located right down the block on 36th and Chicago, donated a bunch of pizzas. Turtle Bread Company provided us with bread and pastries to give away. North Country Food Alliance joined us to pass out free organic produce. The Carrot Initiative spoke to folks and entertained with a trivia game. Our friends Spencer and Aaron showed up to play music- it was a party!

Lead artist Greta McLain getting paint for the people

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Paint Party at We Win Institute!

Saturday, July 20th found us painting at We Win Institute, Inc., located on 38th street and 3rd Avenue South. We Win was founded in 1995 by Titilayo Bediako in order to work towards the academic and social success of our children. Their programming emphasizes African history and culture and strives to create pride for children of African descent. Many of We Win's students are also students at Green Central School. Ms. Bediako worked with Green Central and Green Central Community Education this year on a number of issues and events and we look forward to growing our partnership even more in the coming year!

Join us at our next workshop on Thursday, July 25th, sponsored by PPNA at 35th and Chicago in front of Pillsbury House from 6:00-8:00. We will be serving pizza from Jakeeno's, pastries and bread from Turtle Bread Company and North Country Food Alliance will be distributing free produce. Also come hang out with representatives of The Carrot Initiative and CANDO and enjoy painting and kids activities. Join us!

Ms. Titi and one of her students

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Paint Party at Sabathani!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 in Minneapolis was hot. Very, very hot (a 100+ degree heat index hot). We were worried- how could we possibly paint today without dropping of heat exhaustion?!? Luckily, we were painting in the evening, in a field with a nice amount of evening shade. We ran out and bought large amounts of ice, juice and water (it was all gone by the end of the evening, big surprise). We borrowed sun tents from the Green Central gym (thanks guys!). And guess what? We had a great evening, and nobody dropped from heat or paint exhaustion.

One of the best parts of the evening? Amazing chicken, rice and beans from Jesse's Food Service Emporium, run out of Sabathani. Jesse asked us what we wanted to serve that evening, insisting that he could cook anything we wanted. "Surprise us," we said. And we were made very, very happy! Thanks Jesse! Contact Jesse at 612.310.4864 or at

Also, special thanks to City of Lakes AmeriCorps (learn more about the Minneapolis Community Education run program here, now recruiting!) for sending us the fantastic Emily and Brian for the evening! We love COL AmeriCorps!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Green Central Gym Community Paint Workshop Pictures

Today was the second Central Identity Project community paint workshop. We were happy to be at the Green Central Gym and hosted by the Green Central Park Board staff! Marshall Wylie (Green Central Park Board director), Yvette Griffea Gray (Youth Development coordinator) and Cornelius Bishop (Teen Teamworks site director) planned a day to remember- the grill was going, the dj had music spinning and Teen Teamworks youth were leading bracelet making activities.

Also in attendance were Tamales y Bicicletas staff Jose Luis Villaseñor and Ashley Sartorius promoting their Urban Solutions to Pollution event on Sunday, July 21 at Waite House, and the staff from the Live and Learn project, a CANDO sponsored project to gather stories from the Central community.

While the weather threatened rain at the beginning, it held out and gave us lots of sun for a great event! Thanks to all who came and made their mark on this magnificent mural project!

The fabulous Green Central Park Board staff!

Lead artist Greta McLain and project coordinator Candida Gonzalez

Images from our first workshop!

Thanks for all that came out- it was a blast! Here are some initial images, and we'll see you today at Green Central gym at 3416 4th Avenue South. The Park Board will be grilling, spinning tunes, and running kids activities between 2:00 and 4:00. Come paint!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CANDO- the Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization

One of our greatest supporters in this project has been CANDO- the Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization, who represent the residents, organizations and businesses of the Central Neighborhood.

A description of CANDO from their website:

CANDO began in 2006 with an all-volunteer staff to renew the mission of promoting neighborhood livability and stability, fostering economic development, and strenghthening communication through inclusive ad represntative community involvment. CANDO works with NRP, the new Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) department, the City of Minneapolis, other organizations, non-profits, government organizations and of course with residents and business ownersto develop a wie variety of plans and programs with an emphasis on housing.  In 2008 CANDO hired it's first paid staff member - a full time Community Organizer.  In 2011, the CANDO board voted to to instate it's first Executive Director position.  It continues to use interns on staff for community outreach.  CANDO staff works to connect residents to resources to imporve their lives and this very specail, historic and always diverse community.
Today CANDO is determined to repair last relationships with foudations and other non-profits, in order to leverage more funds and more programs for the community. 

CANDO has been supportive of the Central Identity Project from day one, writing us official letters of support for our grants from the Minnesota Regional Arts Council and the City of Minneapolis, meeting with us over a variety of issues, using their Facebook page to advertise our Kickstarter campaign, sending members to our Mural Board, and ultimately donating $1,000 dollars (!) in support of the project. We couldn't have asked for a better partner! CANDO will have representatives at many of the community paint workshops available to answer questions or talk about a variety of neighborhood issues and initiatives. 

We're also excited to have the videographers from the Live and Learn project at the Saturday, July 13th paint workshop in front of Central Park gym at 3416 4th Avenue South. For the Live and Learn project, the Central neighborhood is gathering stories from Central residents and wrapping them together into a movie of our shared Central experience. Come out and share your experience with the film makers- Make your story heard!

Sneak Peak before Paint Workshops!

A little sneak peak of what you will be doing when you come to the paint workshops!

Poly tab being prepared for painting

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Starting... already?!?

Wow- can you believe that our first community paint workshop is this Thursday? 

Youth Farm site on Chicago Avenue

This project was originally conceived of in November 2012, grew in size (in our imaginations), and turned into a reality as we were awarded grants from the Minnesota Regional Arts Council and The City of Minneapolis in May of 2013. Getting this program off the ground was hard work- meeting with administration of the school (Thanks to Catalina Salas for the original idea!), talking to students, staff, and neighborhood organizations. Searching for grants, endless meetings discussing our different drafts, late nights and weekends polishing the applications, mad rushes to drive the applications over before the deadlines (Thanks to Kate Kampa, Grants Manager for Minneapolis Community Education, for your endless work with us!). Countless hours spent connecting with neighborhood organizations and people to lock down the sites for the community paint days. Day after day spent promoting our Kickstarter (3 days left- donate!) all over town. Endless supply ordering. Oh, and who can forget our nerve racking meetings with Minneapolis Public Schools facilities and trade heads presenting the mural technique in order to gain approval to do it?

And now here we are- boxing up materials and getting them ready to bring over to the Youth Farm Bahai Site this Thursday. Tables have been secured and pickup arrangements made. Chairs are lined up for those who may need to sit down while painting (our elders, anyone with a disability who cannot stand for longer periods of time, shorter individuals and children). Paint is mixed and in containers, ready to go. Activities have been planned- look out for an opportunity to express your Central Identity. Art activities for smaller children are also in the works- bring your toddlers with you for their own paint fun!

CANDO, the Central Neighborhood Organization, will also be there with information about the Central Neighborhood. They will be happy to answer any questions that you might have on a variety of neighborhood issues!

Our mural youth and artists have been hard at work getting our first panels ready for Thursday. Yesterday saw youth in Room 411 at Green Central doing the underpainting on the poly tab. It's all lined up and ready to go!

So come on out! We'll see you this Thursday, July 11th, 2013 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Youth Farm Bahai Site between 36th and 37th Street on Chicago Avenue. That's the Central Neighborhood, Minneapolis, Minnesota!

Make your mark!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Advertising Opportunity!

Hey South Minneapolis Businesses!

We want to pass along an opportunity to give back to your community and promote your business in South Minneapolis!  Green Central Community Education Program and partners have been working hard to bring you the Central Identity Project, a mural painted by the community to reflect the neighborhood's identity and history.  We need your help to reach our fundraising goal of $5,000.00.

If you donate $500.00 or more your business name can be added to the mural wall (on the high traffic area of 35th street heading to the 35W entrance) as a sponsor of the project!  This means that anyone and everyone who passes by the mural will see your business name and know that you support your community and local school. This mural will be here for 20+ years- a great value!

Find out more and donate at the link below! This is time sensitive- the Kickstarter ends on July 11th!

Have a great summer in Central and keep an eye out for more information on the Central Identity Project!

Where the mural will rest on Green Central- the pink is just a placeholder!

¡Buenos días a los Negocios de Minneapolis!

¡Queremos compartir una oportunidad para aportar algo en beneficio de la comunidad y promocionar su negocio en Minneapolis! El programa de Green Central Community Education y sus socios han estado trabajando muy duro para traerles a ustedes el “Central Identity Project” (el Proyecto de la Identidad de Central), un gran mural pintado por la comunidad para reflejar la identidad y la historia del vecindario. Necesitamos el apoyo de ustedes para llevar a nuestra meta de captación de fondos de $5.000,00.

¡Si su negocio hace un donativo de $500 o más el nombre de su negocio estará instalado en la pared como un patrocinador del proyecto! Esto significa que todos que pasen por el mural (todo el trafico que va al freeway en la calle 35) va a ver a su nombre de negocio y sabrá que apoyan a su comunidad y su escuela local.

¡Aprende más y hace un donativo en el enlace abajo! El Kickstarter termina el 11 de Julio!

¡Qué pasen un buen verano en el vecindario Central y este pendiente para más información sobre el Central Identity Project!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Poster design!

Check out our community paint workshop poster- you're about to see it everywhere around town!

Thanks to Jorge Amerigo for the design. You can check out more of Jorge's work at or contact him at!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Polytab Method

Youth practicing on the polytab.

One of the innovative features of the Central Identity Project is the method that we are using to paint the mural. Up until now, community murals in Minneapolis have been painted straight onto the wall. But for our mural, we are using a technique called the Parachute Cloth Method, or the Polytab Method, pioneered by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Detail from the 6th floor of the Mozaic Parking Ramp in Uptown, Minneapolis.

Our artist, Greta McLain, was trained in this method in Philadelphia and is using this project to bring the technique to Minneapolis and share it with others. She has used it once already in Minneapolis in her project at the Mozaic Parking Garage/ Art Park Murals in Uptown Minneapolis.

How does this technique work? Imagine it like putting up wallpaper. The design is printed on the polytab using a super big crazy printer. Then we paint. Afterwards, the poly tab is fused to the wall using a super strong gel. The artists work very closely and meticulously during this part of the installation, flattening the polytab on the wall to make sure that no air bubbles are trapped inside. Then layer after layer of a clear gel is painted on top of the polytab to seal it into place.

Why are we using this technique for our project? This technique is ideal for us for a number of reasons. One, this method creates a final product that can better withstand our crazy, below-zero temperature winters. Two, this technique makes it possible for our mural to be painted in a series of community workshops around the neighborhood, as the polytab can be broken up into sections and transported around town.

Finally, this method ensures that everyone can participate, not just those that can climb up onto scaffolding. Because the polytab will be laid out on tables at the workshops, anyone that can stand or sit at a table will be able to make their mark- our elders, individuals in wheelchairs or with a disability that makes it hard for them to stand and small children. We want everyone in the Central neighborhood to have their chance to make their mark!

Want to learn more about this technique? Come to our workshops, or contact us about setting up a time to talk or to volunteer during installation.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mural Leader Youth Workshops Have Started!

This week marked the beginning of the Mural Leader Youth Workshops at Green Central School!

On Monday and Tuesday, youth from all over the Central neighborhood came in during the afternoon to begin painting work with artist Greta McLain and assistant Eamon McLain. Their first task? Creating signs to welcome people to our community paint workshops starting on July 11th. Some youth had participated in our Art on the Wall mural project this year at Green Central, and some youth were brand new to the program. All were excited to be a part of this amazing project and have the opportunity to paint!

Monday started out with youth getting the room ready for a summer of painting- laying tar paper over the floors (so our engineers don't kill us!), covering the walls with protective plastic, moving tables and organizing supplies. They then brainstormed on words, colors and images that would draw in community to our paint workshops. Afterwards they measured out signs and sketched their ideas.

Tuesday was all painting. Youth covered up with smocks and paint shirts and got down and colorful! Greta and Eamon were on hand to guide and instruct on painting technique while the youth painted away. Everyone had an awesome time!

Like to join in? We are running Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Green Central in room 411 from 3:30-5:00. Click here for more information. See you Thursday!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Some Thoughts on Arts, Education and the Community

"The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create."
President Barack Obama

“In my own philanthropy and business endeavors, I have seen the critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities….the arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievement in our country.”
Paul G. Allen, Co-Founder, Microsoft

"The rapidly evolving global economy demands a dynamic and creative workforce. The arts and its related businesses are responsible for billions of dollars in cultural exports for this country. It is imperative that we continue to support the arts and arts education both on the national and local levels. The strength of every democracy is measured by its commitment to the arts.”
Charles Segars, CEO of Ovation

Monday, June 10, 2013

Middle and High School Youth- Come Paint With Us!

Run a summer program for youth in the metro area? Know a teen that needs something free to do in the afternoons this summer? Check this out!

On top of the Thursday and Saturday paint workshops, we are offering an opportunity to youth aged 12 to 19 to come paint with us in the afternoons. Our artist Greta McLain will be running open youth paint workshops here at Green Central, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 in room 411. Youth will help plan the final mural design, help prep for the mural and then learn basic to advanced painting skills as the paint portions of the mural.

Youth can come in on their own, or groups can come in on a day-by-day basis. If you run a group and would like to schedule a time, please contact Candida Gonzalez at or 612.668.3748.

All youth need to bring the form below on the first day that they come (save file to computer and then print, or email us and we can send you a pdf file). Check us out and have fun!