A mural depicting slices of life from a century ago was unveiled Saturday in downtown Grand Forks.
The mural, created by the late Joel Jonientz, a UND art professor who died earlier this year, is a public arts project of the city of Grand Forks and the Near Southside Neighborhood.
The mural is located on the east side of a long storage building, owned by local developer Keith Danks Jr., adjacent to the BNSF Railway tracks at South Fifth Street and Walnut Street.
“We thought this would be good place to do some public art,” Weber said.
Kitty-corner from the Cities Area Transit bus terminal, the six-panel mural depicts a long-ago trolley car scene from Anywhere, USA.
The man seated inside the trolley is Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, a silent film star and comedian of the early Twentieth Century, according to Bret Weber, Ward Three Grand Forks city councilman and spokesman for the Near Southside Neighborhood.
“I’m hopeful people will come by and make up their own stories about this mural,” Weber said.
After the unexpected death of Jonientz, at age 46, the local arts community came together to complete the project, Weber explained at the public unveiling. A plaque recognizing Jonientz’ work was presented to his family.
“My hope is that the arts community will pick up the banner and create more public art around the community,” Weber said.
Formed in 2012, the mural is one of the first projects taken on by the neighborhood group.
The group also is in the process of repairing a clock tower that was erected in 1989 as a North Dakota centennial project. North Dakota became the 39th state on Nov. 2, 1889.
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