Loring Ramp mural inspired by Monet

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August 31, 2009 // UPDATED 3:11 pm - August 31, 2009
By: Amanda Kushner
Amanda Kushner
In view from Walker Art Center, Joshua Sarantitis, of St. Paul, wanted to paint a mural that would relate to the cultural fabric of the Loring Park neighborhood.

Inspired by Monet’s water lilies, he is designing a mural on three sides of the Loring Ramp at Nicollet Mall and Grant Street.

“I wanted to do something that is graphic and bold and had some detail with color that moves with the light,” he said.

When ramp owner Alatus LLC purchased the ramp in 2007, along with four additional ramps, the city required facade improvements as part of the agreement.

Originally the ramp was going to be painted a solid beige color. Then City Council Member Lisa Goodman suggested Alatus team up with Forecast Public Art, said David Hunt, design-build manager with Alatus.

“Does that paint come in other colors?” Jack Becker, executive director of Forecast Public Art said while discussing his light-bulb moment.

Two months ago Forecast Public Art held a competition with three artists to present ideas for the ramp. Sarantitis’ design was chosen six weeks ago, Hunt said.

Becker said that this project is challenging for Sarantitis because usually he does the painting instead of handing it over to someone else.

But Sunrise Painting & Wallcovering is painting the ramp to Sarantitis’ design. The project is using Nova Color paint from Los Angles, a special mural paint with a higher acrylic content that only needs one coat, Becker said. He said the cost isn’t much greater, but it is a better quality paint. The project, including fees paid to artists for the competition, costs $50,000, Hunt said.

Sarantitis’ design will use squares of color, each about 10 feet by 10 feet, to decorate the 10-story ramp with 75 colors.

“It is basically a color by number,” said Kelli Peifer, owner of Sunrise Painting & Wallcovering. Peifer expects the project to be done in a month.

Sarantitis said each number corresponds to a different color, and it will be painted top to bottom and from right to left.

But after the painters had started on the first column of paint, Sarantitis said that some of the colors were too dark, and he planned to remix.