On July 8, poems and colorful graphic design by the Twin Cities’ leading visual and literary artists that wrap the historic Coliseum Building on East Lake and 27th Street were revealed.
The 111-year-old building was at the epicenter of rioting and destruction following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officers. The Third Precinct police station and many nearby businesses were burned to the ground, including the Coliseum which was home to independent retail and hospitality businesses, health providers and law firms.
Built in 1911, The Coliseum building stood firm as a beacon for small business through the Great Depression and World War II. After waves of neighborhood redevelopment plans in the 1970’s and 80’s The Coliseum received a $5 million dollar infusion and reemerged in 2002 as a small business incubator, welcoming BIPOC entrepreneurs and commercial businesses.
Associates with Redesign Inc. saw the need to restore hope to the community anchor and joined local architects and Longfellow business leaders in a grass-roots effort to save the heavily damaged building. The plans for the building include a retail/ restaurant space on the first floor and offices on the second and third floors.
As part of its mission, the non-profit developers worked with fiveXfive Public Art Consultants to bring back what it calls ‘the heart of the neighborhood’ by engaging the community with messages of hope,
commissioning poets from St. Paul’s TruArtSpeaks and emerging graphic artists Precious Wallace, Daren Hill, Noah Lawrence-Holder and Emma Eubanks to create images of strength and resilience as the building moves into Phase Two interior construction.
TruArtsSpeaks is represented on this project by Marcia Rendon, Isha Camara and See More Perspective. Founder Tish Jones served as a coordinator on the project, matching the commissioned designers with the poets’ in-depth discoveries about the Longfellow community, retelling its long history of trade and transportation, the arts and labor activism throughout the 20th century. The public artwork fabricated and installed by B&B Installations, LLC wraps the 85,000 sq. ft. building with words of renewed strength and optimism for Longfellow residents and visitors as it rebuilds from the economic and emotional devastation it still faces from 2022.