Roadside attractions change with the seasons along Minnesota’s Highway 169, from sweet corn fields and fresh fruit stands in the summer to pumpkin patches and haunted houses in the fall. And now a 135-foot mural stands tall year-round in Mankato, the city that anchors the 350-mile highway, which follows the Minnesota River through southern Minnesota, then rolls purposefully into the Iron Range north of the Twin Cities.
Driving north or south on 169, the impressive black-and-white artwork can’t be missed. But it’s not until you venture into the charming downtown and stand next to the Ardent Mills silos that you truly experience the scale and presence of the mural.
Created over two years by Australian artist Guido van Helten, the artist applied industrial paint while strapped into a basket lift. Van Helten painted this image of an Indigenous youth teaching local middle-schoolers how to dance after he experienced the Mahkato Wacipi, also known as the Mankato Pow Wow, held annually by the Mahkato Mdewakanton Association.
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