Muralist and mosaic artist Greta McLain has always liked big walls, so to her, it made sense that she would pursue an impactful medium of art, murals. In Minneapolis alone, she has created over 30 murals and also has murals in countries such Argentina, Mexico, and France.
”When I was a kid, I went to an International Fine Arts Magnet School so I was introduced to art through that. I did my first mural when I was in 4th grade and I just really remembered it and it influenced me a lot,” McLain said.
McLain’s work covers an array of themes that she feels captures the community that surrounds that wall. This includes themes of how to reconnect over an area of disconnect and neighborhood history.
“I convey in the majority of my work a celebration…show more content… “When you hold a safe space for that vulnerability, people can make something that is so outside of their comfort zone where they allowed to go through all of their emotions and see what that can open up inside of them,” said McLain. “I think holding a space for people’s vulnerability allows me to continue to move in that space of my own vulnerability, exploring who I am. I can look at how big I’m allowed to be as a woman in the world who's doing art on the street.”
McLain works with both community organizers and schools to capture the essence of the place and people who live there.
“A mural is like a big billboard because anything on the street you're basically being sold. If we can make that into something that sells the idea that people here have value, then I have achieved what I wanted to convey,” said McLain. “I wanna buy that, I wanna buy the idea that people here have value, that we take care of this place, that we’re dreaming, and that we’re going someplace.” By the age of 18, McLain knew she either wanted to be a muralist or a…show more content… Murals are an exposed medium of art that reaches everyone, whether they realize it or not, according to McLain.
“Ultimately the murals live in the community where the wall is and it's not just mine. The cool thing that we do is that we really are opening up the process for community making,” said McLain. “So we have all kinds of different indirect mural processes in which the actual communities who will be living, working, and playing around these murals can actually make the murals.”
According to McLain, the making of a mural is a long community process that involves communication with both community organizers and the community itself. In order for her to do her best work, McLain needs time to make connections and understand the people involved directly and indirectly.
An example of how her murals can connect and inspire others is seen in her mural “Sing a Song for Uptown” located among the stores of Uptown. The imagery of the piece primarily symbolizes the nature Uptown has to offer even as it is surrounded by