Giant mural of Prince coming to downtown Minneapolis in June

MINNEAPOLIS — Work on one of the largest murals in the Twin Cities is slated to begin May 16, and organizers of the tribute confirmed Sunday that the subject of the 100-foot-tall painting will be none other than Minneapolis’ own Prince.

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The “Purple Rain” singer, whose career spanned four decades, died of an accidental drug overdose at his suburban Minneapolis estate in April 2016. The acclaimed musician was 57 years old when he was found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

“It’ll be electric,” Sharon Smith-Akinsanya told KMSP, adding, “It will bring us back to life.”

Smith-Akinsanya, who raised the money for the $500,000 project, is CEO of Rae Mackenzie Group, a diversity, equity and inclusion marketing firm, and founder of social hiring network People Of Color Careers.

Onlookers are invited to watch artist Heiro Veiga transform the brick wall overlooking downtown Minneapolis’ First Avenue “into the colorful face of a hometown hero,” KMSP reported.

According to the Star Tribune, a dedication ceremony for the completed mural and block party are slated for June 2.

“This has been long, arduous, tedious process,” Smith-Akinsanya told the newspaper. “We actually started figuring out a way to give him his roses while he was here. Of course, we had no idea that in 2016 we would lose him. We’ve been working on this for seven years. We’re going to get it done.”

Miami-based Veiga was selected from a pool of more than 60 artists, only 10 of whom were granted interviews with Prince’s family and estate as finalists, KMSP reported.

“I have worked my entire life for an opportunity like this. I understand the full weight of this responsibility. This is Prince’s legacy, and I will make sure that this mural makes Prince’s family, fans, Minneapolis and the world proud,” Veiga stated in a news release.

“The self-taught artist’s work has been commissioned across the world, including the exterior of Miami’s Museum of Graffiti. His most prominent works were done in participation with Pow Wow! Mural Festivals, including a mural displayed in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii,” KMSP reported.

Veiga’s other works have featured Kobe Bryant, Muhammad Ali, Al Pacino, George Floyd and others.

Organizers are also hopeful that the mural can help the city of Minneapolis rehabilitate its image, the Star Tribune reported.

“We needed something to look forward to in this region and something else to be known for other than the place where George Floyd was murdered,” Smith-Akinsanya told the newspaper.

“This begins to change the narrative. It begins to bring us together. It begins to bring people back downtown,” she added.