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Fence Mural in NE Minneapolis serves as canvas for inspiration after recovery

NUWAY 3R Mural

 – A new mural in northeast Minneapolis is a symbol of recovery for people dealing with substance abuse. An area artist worked with a treatment provider to transform its privacy fence into an empowering mural with help from actual patients at the center.

“This represents lifting each other up,” said Shane Anderson, artist. “I think that’s very cool. A lot of the words you see throughout – ‘hope’ – we’re gonna come back and put shadow and highlight on here to draw these out even more.”

Anderson and his team spent Monday putting the finishing touches on the project: a colorful, dual-sided, 1,200 square foot mural along a privacy fence in the heart of the northeast Minneapolis arts district.

“It makes it very welcoming for anybody to paint,” said Anderson. “It’s a big coloring book for us kids, I guess.”

The abstract, almost graffiti-like artwork is a joint effort between Anderson Illustrations and Nuway, a non-profit treating people for co-occurring substance abuse issues and mental health disorders. Earlier this year, the community care provider relocated its outpatient counseling center in northeast Minneapolis and erected the fence to shield its patients from busy Central Avenue. The fence created a giant canvas that took just days to come to life.

“It has a lot of presence and I think it’s going to create conversation to challenge the way they think about substance use disorder,” said Cassidy Schuster, Nuway chemical dependency technician. “It’s a great way to get the conversation going.”

Joining Anderson and his team were about 200 current clients and Nuway employees.

The artist’s advice? Don’t worry about getting messy and staying inside the lines.

The group came up with twenty powerful words of the recovery process, such as “dignity,” “honesty” and “respect,” that were discreetly painted along the fence.

“Our clients really enjoyed being able to express their recovery and have this opportunity to show that recovery is real and happens every day in Minnesota,” said Monique Bourgeois, Nuway chief community relations officer.