Community mural coming to life at 72nd and Chicago

 Community mural coming to life at 72nd and Chicago

 Richfield, Minn. (September 14, 2022) – What started as an idea to make a local school bus stop more welcoming has blossomed into more than 1,000 square feet of vibrant color, complete with tropical birds, avocados and even a digital surprise.

Over the course of the summer, a community mural has taken shape near the intersection of 72nd Street and Chicago Avenue, on the south-facing wall of the Galaxy Foods warehouse building. The Mixto Mural is a collaboration between the Richfield Leadership Network, local artists and business owners and the City of Richfield.

“We had been having conversations about this mural and space for a number of years, and after the killing of George Floyd, this really became a deeper desire and focus,” recalled Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez. “The need for this project comes out of a necessity for healing, as well as a way to build community, safety, connection and trust with one another.”

The mural is being painted by Ricardo Perez and Sebastian Rivera Cintron, artists with the Mixto Art Collective. The theme of the mural is ‘What if Richfield became a jungle?’ The artists used more than 90 responses submitted during the Galaxy Foods Block Party to develop their concept for the mural.

“As an artist, you always want to see your art up in the community,” acknowledged Richfield artist, Ricardo Perez. “But in this case, we had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the neighbors to design a mural that reflects their favorite things. Our work here offers a glimpse of the magical city that we all envisioned together through the engagement process this summer.”

A big piece in making this project reality was having the right space for the mural. Arun Motilall and his family own Galaxy Foods, at 7128 Chicago Avenue, and were willing participants from the start.

“I love art, and I love this community,” stated Motilall. “We felt like we had an opportunity to create a place in this neighborhood that tells people they are safe, that they can be themselves and that they won’t be judged.”

In addition to bringing vibrant color to the community across the 1,100 square feet of the Galaxy Foods warehouse, the mural will also be Minnesota’s first augmented reality mural. An augmented reality piece of art contains a digital layer that can be accessed when the mural is viewed through a digital platform.

“When this mural is complete, there will be five hot spots to scan with Instagram,” noted BJ Skoog, founder of the Richfield Leadership Network, and one of the organizers for the project. “Viewing the mural on Instagram will animate the art with layers of movement and truly bring it to life.”

Community art has a long history in Richfield, with more than 20 pieces of public art scattered throughout the city. This includes two additional community murals, located at Broadway Pizza on Lyndale Avenue and Bon Auto Body shop near Arby’s on 77th Street East. The city is supporting the Mixto Mural project with $10,000 in funding.

The mural is slated to be complete by September 16. A community celebration will be held on Friday, September 23, from 5 – 7 p.m. to publically reveal the mural and celebrate with the community.

“We’ve been having this conversation for a long time,” noted Skoog. “Because of COVID, there were many delays, but now we’re actually seeing this project take shape and it could not be more exciting.”

Other project sponsors include: the Mixto Art Collective, Sherwin Williams, Kobra Paint, Rem5 Studios, The Richfield Foundation, The Richfield Arts Commission, One Way Wireless Construction, Aaron Lissarrague - American Family Insurance and Visit Richfield.

Updates on the Mixto Mural can be found on Instagram @richfield_leadership_network or on the project’s GoFundMe page at: