Moorhead High School Students Add Colour to Downtown Moorhead With New Mural

Photos by Kara Lee Creative Co.

This summer, the shipping container on Center Avenue in Moorhead got a fresh coat of paint with the help of local art students. For one week in July, Moorhead High School students came together and painted a design of their creation on the 40-foot wide container.

Moorhead High School students (left to right): Lanie Leines, Antje Swanson, Maria Kasongo, Ella Olson, Emma McDonnell, Jolee Krull, Kacy Haphey, Aya Vigilant, Jeana Lee, Sophia Schuetz, Ayana Lutgen, Nina Holding Eagle.

Organizer, artist, and Moorhead native, LesleyAnne Buegel, of Folkways, recruited the students with the help of Moorhead High School art teacher, Marissa Jensen, earlier this spring. Buegel has painted several murals around Fargo-Moorhead, including the backside of the shipping container at the Moorhead Center Mall, 102 Broadway, and Wild Terra Cider. She had the idea of involving the students because of her own experience as a young art student looking for opportunities in the local art community.

She worked with the students to create the design and organize logistics that go into installing a public art piece. The students were involved in every step of the process including design meetings, picking out paint chips, priming the container to be painted, and giving a presentation to the Moorhead Economic Development Association about the project.

The students brought their interests and aspirations to the drawing board and the design became a culmination of the group. 2021 Moorhead High graduate, Ayana Lutgen, was excited to be involved in the entire project. “Being a part of this whole painting process was a very meaningful experience,” said Lutgen. “It was super fun and brought a real sense of community amongst my classmates and friends. I was inspired by local birds, bats, and bugs because wildlife is important to me as a nature enthusiast.” Lutgen now studies ecology at MSUM.

Mayor Shelly Carlson loves the mural and passes by it often on her way into City Hall. “We are delighted that our downtown is hosting more and more public art—sometimes in unexpected places,” said Carlson. “The energy and talent of the student artists that designed and painted the mural on the storage container on Center Avenue add a wonderful vibrancy to our downtown. Drive by and just try not to smile. I bet you can’t do it!”

The mural is located in the southeast parking lot of Moorhead Center Mall. The storage container is currently being used to hold supplies for various events held in Downtown Moorhead, including Moorhead Cruise Night.

Find more of Buegel’s artwork at lesleydidthat.com

Find more projects organized by Folkways at folkways.org