Coincidentally, Brooke Corazon was sitting across the street at Gigi’s Cafe in October when she saw the black paint go on. The LOVE mural that she had painted with another artist seven years ago was going to be covered up.
“I was able to see it one last time and say farewell,” Corazon said.
In 2016, Jessie Quam asked the owner of Calhoun Pet Supply about doing a mural on the side of the building at 901 W 36th St. Corazon and Quam, who have done many murals around Southwest, painted the mural together. They ran an Indiegogo campaign to raise money.
“We got one donation from a woman in the area that covered our supplies, and then boom! LOVE,” Corzon said in a message.
The mural was completed in June 2017. It was a quiet symbol of the East Harriet neighborhood. Southwest Voices has used a photo of the mural as our social media background since we launched in 2021.
One local couple used it as their background to both their engagement and their wedding day.
On Jan. 17, 2020, Kyle Johnson proposed to his girlfriend, Hannah, in front of the LOVE mural while they waited for the Route 23 bus to take them to Japanese restaurant Kyoto on Nicollet Avenue.
“I told her, ‘When I wait for the bus in the morning I look at this mural and think about how lucky I am,’” Kyle Johnson said.
When they got married 10 months later, pandemic restrictions were especially intense. Gov. Tim Walz had put caps on the amount of people who could attend wedding ceremonies. At the time, there was a 50-person cap statewide, and it was cut in half a month later.
So, they got married on Nov. 21, 2020 in a small ceremony and celebrated with a reception of “12 friends standing outside eating Jimmy John's,” Kyle Johnson said.
“We took pictures of different spots that were important to us, including the mural,” he said. “I think the mural meant a lot to the neighborhood, especially after the challenges with the riots and rise in crime afterwards. It will be missed.”
So why did the mural get painted over?
After Calhoun Pet Supply closed in 2021, the building remained vacant, and the mural got tagged occasionally. When the new tenant, Flipside, took over the space they also took responsibility for up-keeping the mural.
"There were some splits in the mural that had to be puttied and put together and then we had to paint those spots," Josh Fellman, co-owner of Flipside said. "There was a bunch of gaps that we had to fill, and then lines inside the mural. So it started to get pretty choppy."
Fellman said the building's owner offered to paint everything but the mural black, but Fellman and co-owner Tess Fellman declined that offer.
"It was a beautiful mural. It just was a tough combination of circumstances," Fellman said. "It will not stay black forever."
In fact, Flipside wants community input on what should be painted on the side of the building.