Despite a week of gloomy, dreary, rainy, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weather, Chroma Zone persisted. And we’re so happy it did.
St. Paul’s first and largest public mural and art festival has brought new life — in the form of 12 outdoor murals painted by 15 artists over 8 days — to the Creative Enterprise Zone. The mixed-use cultural district is located mid-city, specifically from the intersection of Raymond and University Avenues south to Interstate 94, east to Prior, north to the railroad tracks by Energy Park Drive, and west to Minneapolis.
Presented by Forecast Public Art and Burlesque of North America and produced by the CEZ — it’s both a place and non-profit organization — the inaugural festival’s lineup of events included artist talks and panels, live painting at the Little Mekong Night Market, guided mural tours by bus, and two raging block parties. The participants, meanwhile, were artists of regional, national, and international renown, including Brooklyn’s Cey Adams and Mr. Kiji, Buenos Aires’ Mariela Ajras, Orange County’s Ewok, Oslo’s self-described “Esoteric Paleo-Futurist Anarcho-Stalinist Bolshevik Orthodox Primitivist Transhumanist Afro-Muralist” Cassius Fadlabi, Minneapolis’ own Chuck U (whose illustrations you might recognize from the Indeed Brewing cans), and St. Paul’s Biafra, Inc. and Art Crop, a Hmong artist collective.
We checked in with the artists on the second to last day of the festival; while the lousy weather dealt everyone a blow, it didn’t break their spirits. Some artists had completely wrapped their murals, others were only halfway done. Although the festival’s one-off events have come and gone, the tours will be on view for at least a year, and future installments have already been approved for 2020 and 2021. Check out the map below for detailed locations; most are walkable or bikeable.