‘Keep the Fire Alive’ Youth Mural

See the youth mural project process and featured highlights in the Mia’s Community Commons Gallery from September 24, 2020 to March 15, 2021. Click here to learn more about the exhibition.

During the summer of 2020, Mia partnered with All Nations Indian Church, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, and SAMHSA Native Connections to help create a mural with the Keep the Fire Alive theater troupe.

Watch the video below to learn more about the mural.

We are a Native youth theater troupe. Social distancing cancelled our performances. However, the need to express emotions, celebrate culture, and connect did not end. The stage changed from a crowded auditorium to a gray wall on All Nations Indian Church, a wall passed by the Indigenous Peoples Task Force (IPTF) teens who came together for programming. Recently, the wall has become a place of graffiti, litter, and injection-drug use, displaying challenges faced within the community.

Our elder Linda Eagle Speaker opened the process, teaching us that we are all human beings first, no group greater, but all equal. The entire 2,048 s.f. wall displays creativity and messages of the young artists. With the support of partners (All Nations Indian Church, IPTF, SAMHSA Native Connections, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art), the project moved quickly from an idea to reality with the use of combined creativity and colorful cans of paint.

Our 18 youth and staff worked with lead artist Bree Green, who helped us identify important themes: traditional medicines, equality (Black Lives Matter, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women), growth, our own diversity, and Native American culture. Ruti Mejia captured the process in photography and videography.

Time spent at the wall was full of laughter, creativity, bright colors, teamwork, music, pride, and sweat! That is what makes the mural so beautiful.