By Sarah CR Clark
New, bright and original murals have been appearing on building walls in the industrial Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) neighborhood in South St. Anthony Park, despite the postponement of the Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival.
The second annual festival, originally scheduled for September, was postponed because of COVID-19. However, the organizers wondered how they “could use this time of uncertainty and change to support local artists and businesses affected by the COVID-related economic downturn,” according to their website. The result: A summer initiative, using Chroma Zone funds, called the CEZ Summer Mural Project, producing a series of new murals by local artists.
“The summer mural project gives us a chance to extend the narrative in and of our neighborhood,” said Catherine Day, CEZ founder and board chairperson. “We want people to find connection, beauty, and engagement here.”
One of the summer artists, Xee Reiter, began work on her mural (located at Oak Tree Art, 809 Carleton Ave.) in early September.
“I want it to look like a girl painted it!” she said. Her mural is in honor of her teenage daughter, Alice, and will include some themes from “Alice in Wonderland.”
Reiter, who is a first-generation Hmong American, specializes in watercolor and pen and ink illustrations. Her work includes children’s book illustrations and she has worked with local museums, TPT PBS, MPR and The Ordway.
Angela Casselton, project manager of the CEZ Summer Mural Project, reflected on the project.
“We are thrilled with both the opportunity and the outcome,” Casselton said. “Our artists have been amazing to work with, our business partners generous and supportive, and the community is both appreciative and excited. We know from last year’s festival that the murals have had impact and we really wanted to keep that momentum going.”
Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.