“To find a city without art, would be to find a dead city.” Candida Gonzalez is determined that Minneapolis is alive with public art and strong communities to make it.
As administrator and project manager at GoodSpace Murals, Candida dispels the myth that art is privilege, or somehow out of reach for the average person. “Public art is exciting because it is accessible to all,” she offers. “I don’t need a ticket to see a public mural. I don’t even need to leave my neighborhood. I can stay right here and experience art, and even be part of making it.”
Commitment to accessible art and process is what drives Candida and her creative partner, muralist Greta McLain, to help communities highlight their identities and dreams through paint and mosaics. Process matters to the pair. “We don’t go into a community and say ‘we are putting up this piece, watch us make it!’” says Gonzalez, “We take the community’s ideas and make something with them that tells the story they want to tell.”
At Minneapolis’ Green Central School, a 2000 square foot mural has gone up on the SE corner of the brick building guided by GoodSpace. Gonzalez estimates that over 700 individuals from Green Central School, Green Central Park, and the surrounding neighborhood contributed ideas that inspired the project sketch, or actually held a paintbrush in hand while the mural was unfolding. Interviews about identity were conducted throughout the neighborhood. Summer school kids got to paint portions of the mural on parachute cloth during afterschool art sessions. 10 “Community Paints” were held for neighbors, families and elders to participate, each choosing a color to contribute.
The project cost about $35,000, with funds coming from local arts grants and a Kickstarter campaign to pay for the artists’ time, high quality Nova Color paint, fabrication of the parachute mural method, marketing, and stipends for the community partner organizations and interns.
“Art is a vehicle for communication, and community created art is an avenue to meet my neighbors,” says Gonzalez. McLain agrees, “Art is an excuse for people to come together, to work together, to make something bigger than ourselves. It means we are here. The people are here.”
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Photo Credits: GoodSpace Murals