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Backsides Of Old Buildings About To Get Fancy European Touch-Ups

In a nondescript little parking nook off 2nd Avenue that you’d never give a second glance, Francesco Parisi saw potential for an artistic new addition to the neighborhood. And now, after months of meeting with building owners, neighbors and city officials, he’s received the city’s blessing to get it started.

Parisi is planning to fly in a group of European artists to paint murals behind this historic building that will incorporate images of steel beams (the building was constructed in 1897 for the Minneapolis Iron Store) along with other historic elements. And the murals will be illuminated at night.

Why European artists–and why the North Loop? Because Parisi, an Italian native, is the founder of the non-profit that’s funding the project: Neighbors for North Loop Livability. And he’s also one of the founders of Operazione Street Art Festival, an annual event in which artists from Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands take nondescript corners of Italy and turn them into works of art.

“They take one town at a time and they take old walls that are an eyesore and make them beautiful,” said Parisi.

As an art lover and North Loop property owner, Parisi founded Neighbors for North Loop Livability several years ago to fund art projects such as this for everyone to enjoy.

“Art tends to be private property,” he said, “and public art is public, not only because it’s in public spaces but it doesn’t matter who paid for it. Those who paid and those who didn’t pay enjoy it equally.”

This American project will be a first for OSA, so it’s making news in Italy. Check out this article which references the “avant-garde North Loop district” or this one about the artist. And here’s one more. (You may need to have Google translate them for you).


The lead artist on this project will be Antonino Perrotta. Work is scheduled to take place between October 27-November 10.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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