Local Hamline-Midway artist, Kada Goalan, has been chosen to paint murals on the new Whole Foods building and Selby and Snelling, one facing Selby and the other facing Dayton. The art will reflect the historic features of the neighborhood. The image to the left is a rendering of one of the two murals.
For Kada, bringing happiness to the community is just one reason why she loves to paint murals. She hopes her two murals will do the same for the Union Park neighborhood, which she plans to will have completed by the end of June. Everyone is welcome to help Kada in the painting process during her community paint day on Sunday June 12th, from 12pm-2pm on location. All ages are welcome to help and talk to Kada about the design and process. Until then, here’s more on Kada’s journey as an artist and what inspired her design.
About the artist
Fifteen years ago, Kada didn’t necessarily plan to paint murals as a full-time profession: the opportunity to do so simply fell into her lap. While going to school for her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, the St. Paul native studied painting in Florence, Italy for six months. Upon returning to St. Paul, she worked in a family-owned Italian restaurant in North Oaks. This is where she serendipitously received her first commission to paint a mural, which is still intact to this day. “I was working as a server at Panino’s and one day the owner heard that I’d studied painting in Florence. He immediately asked me to paint a mural and I agreed, even though I’d never done it before!” This first project was not only the beginning of Kada’s career as a muralist, but also where she was introduced to her first clientele. “It was great, I’d wait tables during the day and then paint afterwards. While I was serving, people would ask about the mural artist and I was able to talk to them about it. The customers would ask if I could do art for them as well, so when I gave them the bill I just wrote my phone number on the other side and get commissions that way.”
Kada continued to refine her talent in painting murals over the years and was commissioned to work on other home renovation projects as well. Her advertising method hasn’t change since day one: she gets her clients via word of mouth. “Usually I end up making my way through neighborhoods and work on houses all the way down a single block. It’s come to the point where the other day I drove down a street where I’d done projects and realized I’d done a different project in just about every-other household!”
Aside from transforming household interiors, Kada also has worked as an artist in residences at four different schools in the Twin Cities. “I come in and work with the kids on basic art concepts and techniques in addition to painting a mural. I love the teaching element of it and seeing how excited the students are when the project is finished. They are so excited to see their work on the wall, it gives them a sense of ownership in their school that they really cherish.”
Behind the design
Kada wants to capture the same sense of ownership and pride about the art while working with the community on the murals at Whole Foods. “I think public art is an act of beautifying the originality of a place and adds value to a place. Public murals in particular make buildings stand out and become more noticeable, acting as landmarks for locals to reference. For instance, Selby & Snelling is a distinguishable intersection because of the shops around the area that people recognize as unique to the area.” She also added that “public art projects are not only investments in neighborhoods and buildings, but also in local artists. I’m glad those at the Vintage on Selby decided to invest in local artists and adding to the rich culture of the area. It brings such happiness to people.”
The existing culture and historical significance of the area were large influences in the design that Kada created for the murals. “I wanted to mix the old with the new in this design in order to reflect the character of the neighborhood, while still embodying the vibrancy of the neighborhood with bright colors and fresh elements.” The rail car that once ran along Selby is referenced in the design, as well as old-fashioned bicycles and modern cars in order to reflect the importance of the intersection as a commercial and transportation hub. Viewers can keep an eye out for original buildings of the area incorporated in the design, as well as faces of people from historic photos from the Minnesota Historical Society. “The fact that Union Park is distinguishable because of its family-oriented community and the locally-owned businesses, and not by only by the colleges in the area, is what I admire about the area,” added Marisa, who is another local artist helping Kada with the project. Kada agrees and hopes that shows through to others when they view the murals.
Kada hopes for sunlight and many volunteers in attendance at the community paint day to help bring her design to life. “I’m hopeful that many people from the neighborhood will be there to participate in the painting and gain a sense of ownership about the work they’ll have contributed to.”
For more information, check out Kada's portfolio on her website.
This article was written by our UPDC intern, Karah VueBenson.