Local mural artist continues visual legacy in Dinkytown

Sherri Faye’s murals contain history and subtle details. Faye has been a longtime resident of Dinkytown and her work can been seen across the country.

Local mural artist continues visual legacy in Dinkytown

Tara Bannow

Over the years, Sherri Faye âÄôs paintbrush has made its rounds throughout Dinkytown , leaving behind vibrant reminders of the areaâÄôs history. The 50-year-old local artist has played a role in nearly all of the murals that charm passersby from their prominent spots on the walls of local businesses. It all started four years ago in the conference room of Wilderness Inquiry , where Faye painted a mural of inspirational quotes. She also did several murals âÄî including the iconic Bob Dylan headshot and the giant collage of significant events in the 1960s behind Burrito Loco âÄî alongside then-University of Minnesota student Sergey Trubetskoy . Shortly thereafter, she began on the wall behind the House of Hanson , the Book House and the Podium . Laurel Bauer, owner of the House of Hanson , had the design in mind and was finally pushed forward when she met Faye. âÄúAll I needed was the kick to get motivated,âÄù Bauer said. The mural contains subtle hints into the buildingâÄôs history, including symbols that represent former businesses, such as a pipe representing an old tobacco shop and a soda glass for a soda fountain. âÄúMost people are just going to look right past it all,âÄù Bauer said. âÄúBut the people whoâÄôve been here for a long time may just find the little things.âÄù From there, other business owners caught on to FayeâÄôs work and asked her to paint for them. At TonyâÄôs Diner sheâÄôs painted a café scene on the side of the building, the restaurantâÄôs name on the front and stripes around its perimeter, as well as details on an existing mural inside. Faye also did the billboards and sandwich signs for Uncle FrankyâÄôs and graphic design to promote an event at Kafe 421 . Several of her works are still in progress, including a Tuscan garden scene on the front of VescioâÄôs Italian Restaurant âÄî a building sheâÄôs lived and worked in âÄî and painting the inside and outside of Camdi Restaurant . More murals are still in their planning stages, including another at TonyâÄôs Diner, where Faye will paint a âÄúwall of fameâÄù tribute to famous University of Minnesota alumni, including athletes and doctors. Tony Nicklow, owner of TonyâÄôs Diner , learned about Faye when he saw her painting the House of Hanson mural. Her talent, passion and longtime residency in Dinkytown prompted him to hire her, he said. âÄúWe love it here, and just want to bring that to life on a mural,âÄù he said. âÄúItâÄôs a nice, personal touch.âÄù Next week, Faye will begin work on a giant wave logo on the side of Stadium Village âÄôs new Tsunami Japanese Restaurant . After that, sheâÄôll do a Greek design on Kafe 421âÄôs back entrance. Minnesota isnâÄôt the only state that houses FayeâÄôs work; sheâÄôs painted in at least six different states across the country âÄî in both homes and businesses âÄî mostly for people who heard of her by word-of-mouth. One woman, Faye recalled, even flew her to Atlanta to paint her dining room after seeing her work in Dinkytown. Faye did her first murals while serving as an illustrator-draftsman in the Navy, a position she held for 20 years. Aside from the jobâÄôs more mundane tasks such as drafting a boiler diagram, she has also designed and painted squadron logos, murals and caricatures for her co-workers. âÄúI really enjoyed it,âÄù she said. âÄúA mural can change the look and feel of an entire space.âÄù Faye, who also has a childrenâÄôs book and a comic strip in the works, picked up many of her skills at Hennepin Technical College in 1977. She has since taken courses at various colleges across the country, including several art classes at the University of Minnesota. FayeâÄôs ultimate vision for Dinkytown is far from complete. She plans to organize a project that will incorporate inner-city youth of all ages and skill levels. TheyâÄôll find a wall that needs work and, with coaching from other mural artists, will design and paint a âÄúquilt-likeâÄù mural which will beautify, deter graffiti vandals and provide a creative outlet for kids. âÄúIâÄôd like to help them find that in themselves,âÄù she said, âÄúand know that whether youâÄôre Michelangelo or not, the world can never have too many artists.âÄù For the many people who spend time window shopping, waiting for concerts or finding a place to eat dinner, seeing the art peaks their interest in Dinkytown, Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association , said. âÄúItâÄôs a fun community and I think the color and the artwork just adds to the vibrancy of the area,âÄù he said. Having lived primarily in Dinkytown since she was 11 years old, Faye said she loves to make a difference in the place where sheâÄôs always felt she fit in. âÄúIâÄôve always felt welcome in Dinkytown,âÄù she said. âÄúThereâÄôs something about it that is home for me.âÄù