Past and present create a beautiful fusion in artist Kada Goalen’s two-story mural recently completed at the Coliseum Building, which is undergoing phase two of its renovation at Lake Street and 27th Avenue South. Goalen’s mural was part of the restoration of the historic Freeman’s Department Store sign painted on the east exterior wall of the Coliseum Building. Freeman’s served thousands of Minneapolis families who worked and lived in the Longfellow neighborhood for nearly 60 years.
The original sign painters chose a unique location for the Freeman’s sign – an alleyway near the very top of the three-story building so both pedestrians and cars motoring west on Lake Street could locate the store and its parking lot. Over time the sign faded but survived the destruction the building suffered during the George Floyd protests, but the new owners wanted to give the old sign new life and new meaning. Keeping with the mission of the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office, Goalen (above) restored the Freeman’s sign and added elements representing the community into her adjacent mural, highlighting the diverse women of Longfellow and the numerous cultures and ethnic groups they represent. The $27 million dollar restoration is led predominantly by women of color. `
“Kada’s work is an outward expression of what the Historic Coliseum Building means to’“lift as we climb,’ said Alicia Belton, principal architect of Urban Design Perspectives and one of the building’s owners. “It’s important the community knows the Coliseum Building is a place where all are welcomed and see themselves represented in the built environment. The mural is a bright light of belonging that elevates the rich history of this diverse community while expressing a sentiment of love, hope and healing.”
“I was honored to add both old and new art to the Coliseum Building,” stated Goalen, whose company Kada Creative employed a teen apprentice to assist with work on the mural. “My hope is that the new mural captures the strength of the neighborhood and its bright future ahead. The mural represents unity and resilience, with the intention of celebrating the diversity of those who live in the area.” fiveXfive Public Art Consultants was the lead consultant for this phase two mural and sign restoration project. fiveXfive also led the 85,000-square-foot protective art wrap for phase one of the Coliseum Building’s Restoration. (Photo submitted)