Minnesota’s ‘most visible’ artist designs icons to explore west metro neighborhoods


Chicago had its cows. Saint-Paul had his Snoopys. And now, St. Louis Park and Golden Valley have 10 original characters created by resident artist Adam Turman to encourage neighborhood “artventures.”

Turman’s bold graphic illustrations, which often portray Minnesota culture, can be seen statewide on murals, posters — and even underwear.

For this project, Turman remodeled some of his recurring icons into larger-than-life cutouts to showcase local attractions: Paul Bunyan swings a club at Brookview Golf & Lawn Bowling and Hotdish Girl tote at Golden Valley Commons.

Turman also created several new personalities to mark prominent nodes in the region. There’s Freddie the fox, mountain biking at Theodore Wirth’s Trailhead; Oscar the oriole splashing at the Rec Center water park; and a Lebowski-esque Bowling Guy representing the Texa-Tonka Mall (and nodding to SLP natives Joel and Ethan Coen).

QR codes at each destination link to web pages with information about the area’s history, nearby attractions, and special business offers.

Discover St. Louis Park wanted to collaborate with Turman, who lives in St. Louis Park and has a studio in the Golden Valley, on a project that would showcase his works in all communities. The format was inspired by Turman’s annual Halloween display of oversized characters painted on plywood, said Trish Foster, the organization’s marketing director.

Characters make neighborhoods more memorable and draw attention to their hidden gems, Foster said. “We have a winery and two distilleries located in an industrial area tucked away behind the Methodist Hospital,” she explained. “A lot of people don’t realize they’re there.”

Even Turman, a local for two decades, learned something new about his own backyard. “I had no idea the industrial park area off Louisiana Ave. had a name!” he said. “Skunk Hollow: that’s cool!”

Social media promotions encourage visitors and residents to share selfies with the characters, explore area amenities, and win prize pools of gift cards for restaurants and stores in each node. Additionally, there is a chance to win a stay in the region for those who visit all 10 characters before the posting ends on September 5.

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