Celebration of Life

by John Biggers et al., 1996

About the art

Though the original “Celebration of Life” mural is lost forever, a relic remains at Sumner Library—a piece of concrete from the mural wall, set in front of an image of the beloved work. In 1996, famed muralist John Biggers worked with 17 emerging artists to design and craft the 160-foot mural on a freeway wall near Lyndale Avenue North. At the time, it was one of the biggest pieces of public art in the Twin Cities. It was both a testament to the power of creative collaboration and a tribute to the heritage of North Minneapolis’ African Americans, weaving African folk symbols into a spiritual story of creation and life cycles. The community mourned its teardown in 2001 to make way for apartments, but a small piece of it lives on at Sumner.