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Twin Cities Miniature Street Art A Polite Disruption

Dear Diary,
Across the Twin Cities, these miniature scenes are popping up at random.

(I am not certain if this is the work of the artist I have tagged in this post, even though it's very similar to what is shown on @Mows510 Instagram. How many Twin Cities-based street artists are creating Mouse Doors and miniature displays such as this?)

These “mouse doors” are said to be the work of an anonymous Minneapolis street artist. Some appear then disappear rather quickly, but this scene near the Bloomington Central light rail station has remained for some time.

Though it’s small, it makes a big statement – and one that makes me smile as I walk into my office. These ordinary utility boxes are transformed into something much more appealing, thanks to a creative imagination.

Who the street artist is remains a mystery, and though he (or she?) made an official statement to the local news station, he insists on remaining anonymous. Street art isn’t exactly legal. He curates an Instagram account under the username @Mows510.

The intention was to create something people could interact with. The “mouse doors” are installed at ground level, so passersby can focus on something other than their cell phone and take in life happening around them.

From my perspective, such a whimsy scene has proven successful. My instinctive reaction is always positive, and it’s truly becoming a bright spot I look forward to passing. While I see this nearly every day of the work week, I have yet to find the other such scenes that reportedly dot the metro.

He hopes to expand across the river into St. Paul. These creative, polite disruptions to the cityscape are a welcome sight in a world filled with so much uncertainty and upheaval. I hope it never ends.

Does your city embrace street art?

Boston Common - Boston, MA

Dear Diary,
My modus operandi seems to be; we travel to a new city, we go for a walk, I take pictures, and then, I seek out information about what I just saw.

In this instance, as I research the history and founding of America's oldest public park, I find myself hanging onto every word I read.

Boston Common was founded in 1634, and consists of 50 acres of land. During the 1630s it was used by many Puritan families as a cow pasture.

The Common, as it's referred to, was also once a camp used by the British prior to the Revolutionary War. Furthermore, it was used as public gallows until 1817.

Pope John Paul II and Martin Luther King, Jr. gave speeches here, and this was the site for a couple of protest marches in 2017. Additionally, prehistoric sites were discovered here, indicating the presence of Native Americans for over 8,500 years.

Located on the Boylston Street side of the park is the Central Burying Ground, which is the final resting place of artist Gilbert Stuart and composer William Billings. Also buried here are Samuel Sprague and his son, Charles Sprague, one of America's early poets. Samuel was a participant in the Boston Tea Party and fought in the Revolutionary War, but unfortunately for us, the gates were locked. All that stood between us and such notable influence on our country was a wrought iron fence.

Able now to connect what I saw to what I've learned, I find myself wondering if our first leaders and founders imagined this park would celebrate the kind of longevity it has.

I wonder if they could imagine the public transportation that would evolve over the centuries, not to mention building progress and fashion of dress.

As I review the photographs I took, I begin to imagine all that these grounds bore witness to since the early 1600s.

Perhaps this is why history fascinates me. With each ensuing sentence I read, the mind and perspective-broadening teachable moments are abundant. The result? Gratefulness. Grateful to know where we came from, how we got here, with the modern medicine and technology that we have today. I'm not certain this kind of appreciation could be gained elsewhere.

Who else walked where I have as I crossed those grounds?

In the end, though this was my first time to Boston and a quick visit at that, I feel like I've received a worthy introduction. One that has motivated me to continue this with future visits, historical tours and museum strolls. In fact, I've developed a travel theme of "next time," repeated after each brief exposure to a new city with an excitement to see what else there is. Had we had more time, I would have loved to walk The Freedom Trail and Beacon Hill, and visit the Tea Party Museum. Landen, ever the sports enthusiast, has also added stops at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park (one of the oldest ballparks in the country).

We all have a list of "must return to" destinations. Europe, Hawaii, New York City to tour Ellis Island and now, Boston, are all included on mine.

Until next time!

Boston Public Garden - Boston, MA

Dear Diary,
Within walking distance of the hotel was the Public Garden, and to burn off some energy, we ventured over to walk the grounds.

Fresh snow dusted the sidewalks, much to the kids' delight.

(See what I mean about having energy to burn?) 

We were able to cross the pedestrian bridge above the pond and observe the Equestrian Statue of George Washington, which was unveiled on July 3, 1869.

The Boston Public Garden is considered the first public botanical garden established in America, despite the two centuries that separate its founding and the founding of America's first public park (which is across the street and detailed in tomorrow's blog post).

Much of the gardens were nestled beneath the Christmas snow, but if they are anything like the Victorian gardens at the Como Conservatory, then I'm sure they're a feast for the eyes.

Much to my surprise, I learned  the early days brought many a complaint over the "unnatural combinations" of plants that flowered in the gardens and people deemed them "beyond the bounds of good taste."

Today I'm pleased to report the Public Garden is one of Boston's most popular tourist attractions.