Visual artist, painter, quilter, potter Julie Fakler loves the murals that fill downtown Faribault.
“The murals give you time to pause and take in what the artist is trying to convey to the public/audience,” said Fakler, the visual arts and education director at the Paradise Center for the Arts.
The Faribault Mural Society, responsible for most of the murals, uses public art as a force to enhance the local economy, build community pride and promote tourism. Over the years, they’ve accomplished this mission with the installation/painting of 10 murals located throughout the city.
Recently, Faribault acquired another mural, following a request from city leaders to create something “Instagram worthy.” This time it was Jordyn Brennan’s “Love for All” mural, which stands two stories tall and faces First Avenue NW (between Third and Second streets NW). It is intended to serve as a reminder to spread love to all.
Brennan, a Wisconsin native, will hosting a mural painting class from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25-26 at The Paradise Center for the Arts. She says the two-day workshop will give community members young and old an opportunity to paint one of the walls at the Paradise. Though painting a mural can be intimidating at first, Brennan says that during the workshop students can learn simple ways to take their ideas and turn them into a well-designed mural. Additionally, they will learn techniques on how to transfer their design from small sketches to a large-scale mural.
A sense of belonging
Though all murals have been painted by different artists, they generally represent Faribault’s unique history.
While painting the mural, Fakler recalls Brennan stopping by the Paradise for a visit. All Paradise staff attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, and executive director Heidi Nelson developed the idea to ask Brennan to teach a class at the Paradise. Fakler says the Paradise was fortunate enough to fit into Brennan’s busy schedule.
She sees many values to having murals/public art in downtown.
“Murals beautify the downtown. They tell a visual story about our community. Jordyn’s mural focuses on Faribault’s diversity, and being all inclusive, to welcome all,” said Fakler. “Whether that be one of Faribault’s many historic murals or Jordyn’s mural with the simple message of LOVE. Strong communities support the arts and I’m proud to be living and thriving in Faribault.”
Growing up, Brennan says art always came naturally, but it wasn’t until college when she started taking it seriously. She’s grateful for her art professors at Upper Iowa University who encouraged and helped guide her to where she is today.
Always a lover of murals and the wow factor that large-scale paintings can have, during college Brennan was able to take jobs painting large logos for businesses in town, something she particularly enjoyed. In 2019, she painted her first, real mural on a large, two-story building. From start to finish, she fell in love with the process of mural painting. She especially loved getting to take an idea on paper and bring it to life on such a large scale.
“It’s extremely rewarding to climb down from the ladder and see the wall come to life,” said Brennan. “After that first mural I started searching for more mural projects to apply to. Since then, I have a total of eight different murals throughout the Midwest and I hope to continue to do many more in the future.”
Brennan feels fortunate to have painted multiple murals in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and particularly enjoys getting to meet and work with so many wonderful people in each community.
“Every place I go I get to meet community members who I stay in touch with well beyond the completion of the mural,” said Brennan. “Each project is unique and so are the people which is what makes each project special.”
Along with teaching a class at the Paradise, Brennan also teaches drawing and painting classes at the Maple Grove Arts Center in Maple Grove, The Minneapolis College of Arts & Design and Art in Motion in Holdingford. Currently, Brennan is attending graduate school in Minneapolis. Though that takes up quite a bit of her time, Brennan says she is always looking for more places to teach and share her love for art.
Brennan is most looking forward to meeting and getting to know participants in next week’s classes.
“We all come from different backgrounds with knowledge and life experiences to share and I am always excited to connect with and learn from everyone who attends,” said Brennan.
She hopes attendees of her class leave with a better understanding of what goes into painting a mural, and feel more comfortable and confident in painting at a large scale. Her dream is for people to leave the class and be excited to go out into their communities and make more art. Brennan believes murals have the power to bring joy, excitement and a sense of belonging to communities and she says she’d love nothing more than for this class to kick start that.
As a muralist in society, Brennan says, “I am super grateful to be able to do what I love in so many wonderful communities. It is truly such an honor.”