Marilyn Lindstrom was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1952. Since 1971, she has created and directed hundreds of community works of art, both as painted murals and as tile and glass mosaic works. In 1973, she painted her first community mural with young people on a cultural center in the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis. In 1978, inspired by the great community mural movement of Chicago and San Francisco, Lindstrom founded Wall Painting Artists, (WPA) a mural painting collective of local artists who went on to work with neighborhoods painting some of Minneapolis’ first community murals.
Upon invitation in 1983, Marilyn Lindstrom and San Francisco muralist Miranda Bergman traveled to Managua, Nicaragua and created a mural on the city’s new Children’s Library in Managua’s largest park. In 1991, Marilyn founded a neighborhood youth mural program called Neighborhood Safe Art. She went on to direct a decade of youth-created murals growing out of the fundamental belief of respect for all cultures.
The Leadership Initiatives Neighborhoods Program (LIN) fellowship of the St. Paul Companies was awarded to Lindstrom in the year 2000 in part for her mural work in multi-cultural communities and also for her to research her own cultural heritage in pre-christian ancient northern Europe. That year not only did she travel to Northern Europe on the research fellowship but she was also invited to Kampala, Uganda to lead a mural making workshop with African community organizers through the International Adult Education conference.
Locally, in Minneapolis in 2004, Lindstrom’s community mosaic work was awarded a Committee on Urban Environment (CUE) Award. This was for Hand-to Heart- series of seventeen mosaics at the Jeremiah Campus where single mothers live and go to college “improving their lives for the children’s future.” The mothers not only helped to design based on their experience in the program but also learned to nip and tessellate tile, helping to create the mosaics.
The Franklin Library mosaics; “World Language” by Marilyn Lindstrom and “Red Lake” by Robert DesJarlait are sister mosaics installed over the two fireplaces in the renovated Franklin Community Library. DesJarlait and Lindstrom were awarded this public art commission, creating smalti glass mosaics, each with over 15,000
pieces of glass for the oldest and possibly the most diverse community library in Minneapolis. In “World Language”, ancient symbols from the seven continents symbolize the many languages and cultures of the world.
In addition to Marilyn’s community and public works of art, Marilyn worked for over a decade as a guest artist in schools across Minnesota through the Minnesota State Arts Board artist- in- the schools program. She lead countless murals and mosaics in elementary, middle, and high schools working in inner city, suburban, rural and private schools has left quality works of public art created through thoughtful, participatory curriculum. An example of an inner city mural is on the outside of the Nawayee School created with sixteen youth and adult artists leaders Francis Yellow and Robert DesJarlait. The youth worked to create the dream for the mural, designed and painted to the dream: “Our Power Comes From Our People”.
Marilyn Lindstrom’s International community building continued in 2011 with an invitation from the U.S. Embassy’s cultural envoy program to create a mural in San Gregorio de Polanco, Uruguay. The mural became a part of a wonderful collection of art in a small town in central Uruguay by artists from all over the world.
More recently, Marilyn directed a mural with youth in partnership with “The Link”, an organization that works with youth and families to overcome the impacts of poverty and social injustice. The young people worked with Marilyn and Lakota artist Francis Yellow to write a dream statement for the mural, design to the dream and paint the mural on the outside of the Link’s central building. Another recent mural was created for the entryway of Lydia Apartments- for formally, chronically homeless adults. A group of Lydia residents participated in Marilyn’s community building mural making process-with the dream: “We Dream to Sustain Life”.
Lindstrom creates her own painted and mosaic works in her home studio in the Whittier neighborhood in Minneapolis. Her deeply symbolic, painted canvas series of ancient European goddesses grew out of her research trip to Northern Europe. Along with her own works in mosaic, she teaches mosaic classes in her workshop.
Marilyn continues to believe:
“Art can play a role in building the humane world we all envision”