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The face of a neighborhood

Graphics, Projects | December 1, 2013 | By:

The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition in Minneapolis, Minn., wants to bring new businesses and customers to live, work and play in the evolving inner-city neighborhood and on its major street. The FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, sponsored by the Coalition, displays work by more than 350 local artists during a fun-packed summer weekend each year. The July 2013 FLOW planners revealed the diverse faces of West Broadway by turning an unoccupied building into a three-story art installation, wrapping a symbol of urban decay in vinyl portraits of Coalition member business owners.

The Coalition consulted St. Paul, Minn.-based Western Graphics, and account manager Joe Sexton recommended 13-ounce scrim vinyl. Jake Armour of Armour Photography, a local commercial photographer, went door to door capturing candid images of business owners at work, converting the best of these into print files.

“Because of the scale of the banners, either 25 x 9 feet or 31 x 9 feet, we were shooting for 125-150 dpi final size,” says Sexton. Using ultraviolet inks on a NUR Expedia 500, Western Graphics printed the photo banners, reinforced the vinyl hems with webbing, installed grommets every two feet and brought the finished products to the site in huge rolls. “Repeated and detailed measuring allowed us to plan the final artwork so that the 100-year-old building didn’t get in the way of the art,” says Sexton. The FLOW website features a time-lapse video showing project installation.

“Minute to minute, these business owners do great stuff every day,” says FLOW artistic director Dudley Voigt. “When someone can look at a photograph and say, ‘I know her,’ that’s a very powerful tool.” For more, visit

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