Phillips corner gets a face-lift

semilla project“The blighted corner of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis just got a giant pick-me-up in the form of a 3,000-square-foot mural adorning La Mexicana Grocery. Titled ‘Juntos Crecemos’ (‘Together We Grow’), it’s the latest beautification effort from the Semilla Community Arts Program of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, a Spanish/English congregation that has overseen 18 other murals. Led by artist Greta McLain, the project enlisted 300 volunteers to put up thousands of tiles and pieces of glass salvaged from thrift-shop mirrors and old stained-glass windows. Butterflies and an eagle spouting a line from a Spanish poem (translation: ‘Traveler, there is no path. A path is made by walking’) represent animals important to various cultures. Inside a pattern of spiraling swirls, volunteers added images of things they’d like to see in the neighborhood — a basketball for more play areas, flowers for more green space, two hands of different colors grasping each other. McLain, who grew up nearby, studied and painted in California, Mexico and Argentina before returning home to work in community organizing. ‘This neighborhood is so diverse, but the different communities are segregated from each other,’ she said. ‘So all around the seeds we put these little pollinator bugs.’ The $30,000 project, funded primarily by the State Arts Board, will get finishing-touch painting in the spring.”

Kristin Tillotson, Star Tribune