The Bob Dylan Mural: A Bright Spot in Minneapolis’ Public Art Scene

The giant Bob Dylan Mural is located in Minneapolis, MN, Dylan’s hometown. He spent much of his young adulthood playing on small stages in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota.

Bob Dylan Mural as a kaleidoscope

In 1959, as Dylan was getting his musical legs underneath him, Minneapolis was starting to embrace folk and acoustic music with open arms and infectious enthusiasm for new artists.

Originally known as Robert Zimmerman, Dylan spontaneously changed his name to “Bob Dylan” before appearing onstage at the 10 O’clock Scholar, a popular coffeehouse near his Dinkytown apartment.

An impressive 2 week undertaking

Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, famous for his larger-than-life murals, captured the legendary singer on a building at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 5th Street. Aptly titled “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” after Dylan’s third studio album, the mural stands an impressive 160-feet high and took only two weeks to create.

The design features Dylan in three stages of his life. The first as a young singer, the second during the height of his career, and the third in his famous white hat from the later years of his career. Painted in the artist’s trademark geometric style and vibrant colors, the mural is visible from several blocks away.

As the largest mural Kobra has completed outside of his home country of Brazil, he relied on the expertise of his team to complete the massive public art installation in such a short time.

“Each one is essential,” the artist said in an interview with MPR News. “If one of them had gotten sick, they wouldn’t have been able to complete the mural. They wouldn’t have had time.”

The team of six artists painted for 12 hours a day to complete the towering, five-story mural.

For Kobra, the mural represents his “respect for the art and creativity of others” and is a fitting tribute to a musician who embodied individuality and staying true to himself.

Kobra’s work honors influential people

Kobra began drawing street murals as a teenager in Brazil. The police took notice but Kobra kept painting.

From activist Mahatma Gandhi to author and heroine Anne Frank, Kobra uses his talent to pay homage to some of the world’s most treasured figures. After completing the Dylan mural, Kobra expressed a desire for Dylan to visit it.

And he hopes a Dylan fan gets as much enjoyment from it as the painter received while creating it. While the musical artist has yet to meet the street artist face to face, Dylan’s son met with Kobra soon after the mural was completed to honor the work on behalf of his father.

In a city that has shaped so many artists, the Bob Dylan mural stands proudly in the center of downtown Minneapolis as a beacon of Minnesota’s deep and diverse musical roots.


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