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Duluth library mural puts the insides on the outside

A mural depicting some of the Duluth Public Library's contents began going up on its exterior last week. Scott Murphy, a local artist and member of Painters Local No. 106, is painting the mural. He said he began designing patterns for the work we...

Library mural
Scott Murphy of Proctor, a painter, outlines a pig figure on the spine of the book "Moo, Baa, La La La!" as part of the mural he's working on in the Duluth Library plaza. Money for the mural came from the Minnesota Legacy amendment. Murphy expects to complete the mural sometime in mid-May. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com

A mural depicting some of the Duluth Public Library's contents began going up on its exterior last week.

Scott Murphy, a local artist and member of Painters Local No. 106, is painting the mural. He said he began designing patterns for the work weeks in advance.

Library staff has been culling through the collection in search of books to include in the mural, said Nancy Eaton, a community services representative for the library.

"One of the criteria is that the spine needs to look interesting. We also wanted a good mix of fiction, non-fiction works, including books for children and teens," she said. "We also wanted some titles with local significance, such as some of our 'One Book, One Community' selections."

Murphy said he has been careful to stagger fat and thin books with varied color schemes to maintain the visual interest of the finished piece.

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Funding for the mural comes in the form of a $12,000 grant from the Minnesota Legacy Fund. These dollars were made available when Minnesota voters approved a three-eighths-of-a-percent sales tax increase in 2008 to support environmental programs, parks, the arts and cultural heritage initiatives. Eaton said no city dollars are being spent on the painting.

If all goes well, Murphy expects to finish his painting before month's end.

But a few factors are beyond his control.

Library staff would like to include "Gone with the Wind" in the mural. There's one catch, however: Murphy said the book is checked out right now.

Related Topics: ART
Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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