‘Creating positivity’: Broadway and Lyndale art gardens seek to change the narrative

MINNEAPOLIS- Art and color now fill the liquor store parking lot at one of North Minneapolis’ busiest intersections. It’s part of a plan to bring color, vibrancy and hope to an area that has been a hotspot for crime.

Volunteers from Love MPLS and Sanctuary Covenant Church dedicated the space during Saturday’s “Flow Northside Art Crawl” event, giving viewers a chance to see the project shaping the lot since mid-May.

“To be here and create something positive in such a stereotypically negative corner, it has a really big impact,” said Teagan Malone, who contributed his artistic skills to the project’s painted pots and planters. “People see light, art and color and don’t just drive by and see what they might expect to see.”

The art gardens, which feature a mix of wooden raised beds and more than a dozen painted pots throughout the parking lot, are one way Sanctuary Covenant Church leaders hope to redefine the area .

“A year ago there were over 300 911 calls from this lot, for things like shootings, fights, stabbings,” said Sanctuary Church senior pastor Edrin Williams. . “This year we’ve turned this place into an art garden… The number of calls is down 80%, I would say. It’s a tangible change that’s happening.”

“I feel like it’s the best feeling to see peace come out of something that isn’t peaceful,” said Rameris Woodson, a 16-year-old junior from North High and one of the artists responsible. of the project. “I hope people like it, honestly, I hope people like what we do.”

Project leaders say it presents a chance for young people to find their passion.

“There are a lot of young people here who don’t necessarily want to be here doing things that aren’t constructive,” said Kenneth Caldwell, who helped lead the project. “You hear the whispers, you hear the streets talking, you hear the community talking, you hear they want something different. They want a change, it’s just an opportunity.”

Church leaders say their hope for the future eventually includes acquiring the space currently held by Merwin liquors and creating affordable housing and opportunities for black-owned businesses.

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