CEZ wall muralists hail midsummer with colorful art

By Sarah CR Clark

On July 24, the Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival’s second summer event of 2021 filled a barren parking lot on University Avenue near Raymond Avenue with color, dance and life.

The Midsummer Happening celebrated and debuted three new murals from this year’s festival with Angela Casselton, executive director of the Creative Enterprise Zone, coordinating the event.

“We are very proud of the work of our Chroma Zone muralists and love any opportunity to showcase their talents and share the stories behind them,” Casselton said.

The Midsummer Happening featured artists Thomasina Topbear, Kao Lee Thao and Holly “Miski­toos” Henning Garcia.

“Each has a unique style and narrative,” Casselton said. Live painting demonstrations and performances by CAAM Chinese Dance Theater dancers and Smiling Drum Studio drummers took place throughout the event.

Besides finding local food and drink and art vendors and festival partners, attendees also had the opportunity to tour Chroma Zone murals on bike or by walking, either solo or as part of a guided experience.

Among those people attending the Midsummer Happening was St. Paul City Councilwoman Mitra Jalali Nelson, who called the event “a joy-filled celebration of public art in our neighborhoods.”

She added, “Our shared work continues lifting up the people and artists that make our community special.”

A third and final festival event will close this Chroma Zone season later in the fall.

The Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival began in 2019 as Minnesota’s first and largest mural festival. Currently, it is in its third season.

The 2021 festival celebrates 20 local artists and their work. All Chroma Zone murals exist within the Creative Enterprise Zone whose boundaries are Prior Avenue on the east, the railroad tracks near Energy Park Drive on the north, Interstate 94 on the south and the Minneapolis city border on the west where more than 300 studios and creative businesses are located. 

Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.

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