Bold Mural Reflects Corsa Apartments & the Neighborhood

Artist Adam Turman loves murals as an art form. Using vibrant colors and sweeping black paint strokes, his work appears across Minnesota – from Surly Brewing Co. to Target Field – and now on the parking garage at Corsa Apartments, a 250-unit market-rate multifamily development in St. Louis Park, Minn.

“Murals are one of my favorite types of projects because I view them as a very selfless project – meaning a client is hiring me – more often than not – to do a mural that's not only for them, but also for their audience, and is shared with all sorts of people," said Adam.

The concept of sharing art in St. Louis Park began 20 years ago, when the city started a public art program that today features nearly 50 art installations around the city.

A Perfect Mural Match

A public-facing piece of art was a requirement for the Corsa project, so our team worked with the city to form a committee of local residents and businesses to manage the proposal process. An RFP was issued to local artists and the committee ultimately selected Adam, a St. Louis Park resident.

According to Sean Walther, the city's Planning Manager and Deputy Community Development Director, Adam's proposal stood out. “He clearly conveyed his excitement and enthusiasm for the opportunity, and he showed that he was up to the task of completing the work on time, on budget and to the level of quality we expected."

Anna Bode, Senior Manager of Real Estate Development, said “Everyone felt Adam's passion and excitement for the community and the project. It was a no brainer to partner with him."

Adam went to school for graphic design and got his start as an artist designing “gig" posters for bands and learning how to screen print. Around 2012, he started doing more mural work. Today, his murals can be seen around Minnesota. 

Why a mural on the parking garage? Anna said our team looked at the site as a whole and wanted to place it where the community would get the most benefit. “We've really tried to be good partners with our neighbors in the area, including Steel Toe Brewing, which is adjacent to Corsa," said Anna. “Given the location of Steel Toe and other nearby businesses, we felt a mural on the parking garage façade would be the highest and best use for public art on the project and for the community."

In addition to Corsa, we currently have murals underway at apartment developments in Tucson at Ari on Fourth and in Denver at Kalaco Apartments.

Movement and Nature

When identifying subjects to feature in the mural, Adam started with the name Corsa, which derives from the Latin word “correre," or to run or race. He also considered the active neighborhood location, with its trails, walking paths and fitness studios nearby. “I'm a cyclist. I love to ride the trails near Corsa, and I know a lot of people run and are outside with their dogs. So, I incorporated subject matter that features the idea of being active outside and enjoying life. I also wanted to incorporate nature and seasonality."

That inspiration resulted in a mural with vibrant, bold colors that features movement: a cyclist, a runner, a running dog and also include wings, feathers, leaves and snowflakes.

The City of St. Louis Park has several initiatives that align with the thematic elements of Corsa's brand name. In recent years, it has been highlighting its “Health in the Park" initiatives that promote active living and improving its bicycling and walking infrastructure. This is especially true in Corsa's neighborhood. Corsa is across the street from the Bass Lake Preserve walking paths, only a block or two away from the future Green Line Extension light rail train station, the city's Rec Center and Wolfe Park.

From Paper Sketches to Painted Mural

How does a mural of this magnitude come to be? Adam starts with research, then pencil sketching in a notebook, all the while brainstorming potential ideas for the mural. And then he starts sketching what will work in the space, progressing to a scale-proportional schematic. Once he has a final sketch of the agreed upon design, he projects that image onto the wall and sketches in the design on the surface, in this case a concrete parking garage. Then he is ready to begin painting. The Corsa mural, at 220 feet by 49 feet, is the largest ever created by Adam. As a result, he allotted six weeks to finish it, and its size presented some challenges.

Adam's tools of the trade include brushes and spray cans, but the Corsa mural was the first time Adam used a paint sprayer, due to the mural's large dimensions. Adam estimates the face of the runner in the mural is six to seven feet tall, with an ear about three feet tall. “When you are so close to the building, you can't back up to get perspective. So, I had an assistant on the ground send me photos via text to see what it looked like from a distance," said Adam.

Another challenge he overcame was working on an active construction site with trucks, deliveries and other activities on the ground. Adam and his team took our required safety classes in order to work onsite, and wore hard hats, safety vests, boots, harnesses and other safety equipment. “Opus and the construction crew took such great care of me every day and made sure I had everything I needed," said Adam.

Art for the Community

Sean said the mural has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community.

“When people visit the area, they see bright yellow, pink, green and blue. The mural has added so much color to what could have been a big gray parking garage wall," said Adam.

Sean is grateful for funding partners and real estate developers like Opus that incorporate public art into the landscape of their sites and buildings, so it can be enjoyed by the community. “Public art connects people, ideas and communities – and enlivens our public spaces," said Sean.

For Anna, Corsa was a learning experience. “I'm proud of how Opus takes a meaningful approach to incorporate the community into our projects' design, brand and beyond. The mural turned out to be very representative of the neighborhood and Corsa as well. Working with Adam was a great experience and a valuable addition to the project."

The Corsa mural will be enjoyed by Corsa residents and community members for years to come.