Stay in the Loop

Brightening The Tower Tunnel With Art

Efforts to turn the Tower Tunnel into a public art corridor are making big progress this summer. Minneapolis artist Ron Ridgeway is now in the process of installing two more large works on the historic brick walls of the tunnel–an oversized Pedestrian Crossing sign along with another piece that will feature two arrows pointing in opposite directions and the word “Continue.”

“Movement is the whole thing,” Ridgeway said, “because there’s a lot of traffic going back and forth in the Tower Tunnel.”

The century-old building, now known as Tower Lofts, dates back to the warehousing and industrial period of this neighborhood when most buildings had trains pulling up right behind them to send and receive big shipments.

Ridgeway’s first art piece in the tunnel, Art Crossing, was a play on the traditional Railroad Crossing sign, superimposed over a map of the North Loop. He will be adding some paint to Art Crossing as well in the coming weeks, further enhancing its appeal.

In July, Ridgeway installed a neighborhood map on the tunnel wall, directing passersby from there to the woods and trails along the Mississippi River. And he created two prominent signs with a reflective logo for each entrance to the tunnel.

This art project is funded by a local non-profit, Neighbors for North Loop Livability, with help from the North Loop Neighborhood Association. The long-term goal is to have art installed from one end of the tunnel to the other, not only with Ridgeway’s artworks but from other artists as well.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop Neighborhood Association