Artists: John Acosta, Richard Schletty, Armando
Year Completed: 1985
Dimensions: Approx. 60 ft. wide x 12' high
Location: South wall of Captain Ken's Foods
building, at 344 So. Robert St., at intersection of E. Colorado St., 4 blocks north of Cesar Chavez St. (old Concord St.),
on St. Paul's "West Side".
click for location map
Medium/Materials: Acrylic-latex house paints
-- used only primer colors dark brown and white. Original
intention was to do the underpainting in grayscale and lay
transparent washes of color over that (Bistre method). The
grayscale painting by itself ended up having a remarkable
strength without the addition of color...so we left it that
way. That is in contrast to other West Side murals which
are typically brightly colored.
Funding: COMPAS, Northern States Power, First
Commissioned by: Emergency Fund Service (aka
St. Paul Food Bank)...now known as Second Harvest.
Grant written by Anne Maertz.
Purpose of mural: Promote food shelf at Neighborhood
House. Raise people's awareness of the issue of hunger. Pictured
are people from different nationalities working to eliminate
Miscellaneous: Commercial offset lithographic
prints were made of mural. One is hanging in Neighborhood
Letter to Kira
|Twenty-five years later: restoration
Restoration work began in mid-September 2010.
John Acosta and Richard Schletty are restoring water-damaged
areas on the far left side of the hunger mural. We are also
giving the entire mural a "fresh-up" to restore
Funding for the 2010 restoration of the "Hunger
Has No Color" mural is provided by Captain
Ken’s Foods, The
City of St. Paul Cultural STAR program, and the Riverview
Economic Development Association.
Check back for more news.
Excerpt from City Pages article
The Writing on the Wall
Divining the future of a city one mural at a time
by Keith Harris
published in City Pages: September 12, 2001
A novice in the world of public art, I recently
undertook a monthlong survey of as many murals in Minneapolis
and St. Paul as my eyes could take in, with just a few guidebooks
and the helpful advice of experts guiding my forays. Below
are about 20 of the works that stood out, accompanied by
a mélange of my impressions, the artists' commentary,
and whatever other material seemed interesting. (Also, City
Pages' David Schimke visits a studio the size of a hangar
where a team of Mexican and American artists are creating
a mosaic that will go up on a wall in Minneapolis's Longfellow
neighborhood just a few weeks hence.) By the way, I am by
no means claiming that these are the "best" murals
in the Twin Cities, and just because I omitted a piece doesn't
mean it isn't noteworthy. So let's just stop that flurry
of letters to the editor starting "How could you overlook
the puzzle-like, negative-image lettering on the side of
the U of M studio arts building?" and "What kind
of idiot would fail to mention Roger Nelson's work on the
Kmart building on Lake Street?" This piece is meant
as an introduction, not a conclusion. In any case, these
existing murals are now part of the psychological landscape
of the Cities...
HUNGER HAS NO COLOR
344 S. Robert Street • St. Paul, MN • 1985
John Acosta, Richard Schletty, Armando Gutierrez
Tucked away in its own corner of the metropolis,
St. Paul's West Side is, in many ways, a world unto itself.
It's a neighborhood you aren't likely to stumble across--a
place where a green left-turn arrow doesn't necessarily mean
you have the right of way. (When turning left from Concord
to State at the five-way intersection at the heart of this
district, you've got to yield to traffic from George Street--regardless
of what it says in your drivers-ed manual.) And it's a spot
whose Latino heritage has been nurtured and revitalized,
causing the core to be renamed District del Sol.
Under the purview of the Riverview
Economic Development Association, residents and
businesses are deliberately cultivating the aesthetic
of the neighborhood. Several murals from the Seventies
have been repainted. Several others, now badly faded,
are being painted over. In the future, REDA intends to
place works on those walls that promise maximum longevity
for public art.
One of the most striking of the images that
remains is a black, white, and gray mural that adorns a food
bank just south of the river. Where most murals attempt to
dazzle with bright splashes of primaries and pastels, Hunger
Has No Color takes its title literally. "All of us had
training in classical realism," explains painter John
Acosta. "We wanted to stay in the tradition of the old
masters – pictures of our wives and children and some
people who actually work for the food bank." Stark but
not grim, the piece has a gritty, photographic feel that
is uncommon among the more florid murals of West St. Paul.