(Minneapolis, MN) — April 11, 2022 — Hiero “Yerro” Veiga has been selected as the official artist to paint the mural honoring Prince that will be on display in Downtown Minneapolis. The new 100-foot mural will call the city’s Ramp A home and overlook the core of the entertainment scene that was once Prince’s playground. (Ramp A is located on the SW corner of 1st Avenue and 8th Street).
Hiero Veiga—an internationally known muralist—was one of 60 original artists considered for the project. The Crown Our Prince Selection Committee, led by mural organizers Sharon Smith-Akinsanya and Joan Vorderbruggen, considered a diverse range of accomplished artists and narrowed the list down to 10 finalists. From there, the Committee invited Prince’s family and The Prince Estate to participate in a series of interviews and narrowed down to three finalists, all of whom submitted concepts for their vision of the mural. In the end, Veiga emerged as the clear choice to immortalize Prince in a larger-than-life mural.
A self-taught artist, Veiga’s breathtaking hyperrealist work has been commissioned worldwide and has graced the exterior of Miami’s Museum of Graffiti.
“It is an honor to be selected to paint the mural of Prince,” said Veiga. “I have worked my entire life for an opportunity like this. I understand the full weight of this responsibility. This is Prince’s legacy, and I will make sure that this mural makes Prince’s family, fans, Minneapolis, and the world proud.”
“It is important for us to have an iconic display to show that my uncle is and not was [an icon]. We felt that Hiero demonstrated the best skill set to show the timelessness of his legacy,” said President Nelson, Prince’s nephew.
“Downtown Minneapolis is family to Prince and me. Our parents met there. This mural means so much,” added Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sister and President’s mother.
On June 2nd, the public is invited to the heart of Downtown Minneapolis to honor Prince’s legacy with a block party. The Crown Our Prince Selection Committee has organized this event to officially unveil the mural and celebrate Prince’s upcoming birthday.
“Prince loved Minnesota,” says Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, CEO of Rae Mackenzie Group and former Prince marketing manager. “He could have lived anywhere else in the world, but he chose here. Prince was born here, he lived here, and he died here.”
“I don’t really consider myself a Superstar. I live in a small town, and I always will because I can walk around and be me,” quoted directly from Prince.
Mural organizers Sharon Smith-Akinsanya and Joan Vorderbruggen kicked off efforts to honor Prince in 2015, seven years ago.
“Prince’s contributions to the world and to the Arts are immeasurable,” Smith-Akinsanya continued. “Many of us—myself included—made Minneapolis home because of Prince’s love for this city. That’s why, even though it’s been seven years of working toward this, Joan and I could never just walk away and give up. Prince deserves to be honored by his hometown, it’s time to Crown Our Prince. And our tenacity is paying off. It’s happening! Our corporate sponsors U.S. Bank, the Minnesota Twins, Target, and Best Buy have led the way to make this dream a reality with substantial financial support. And Hiero, I can’t wait to see his vision come to life!”
Funds for the mural will ensure its preservation for the next 30 years managed by the mpls downtown council with support from the City of Minneapolis and Minnesota Department of Transportation—the owner of Ramp A.
“We’re finally close! To see this becoming a reality is so much bigger than just a seven-year dream come true. It’s epic,” added Joan Vorderbruggen, Public Art Consultant. “Hiero is an amazing artist, very skilled at his craft. His career is filled with hyperreal murals that bring his subjects to life. He is the perfect person to capture the living legacy of Prince.”
“This Prince mural will be an incredible addition to our downtown community—a must-see work of art for all to come downtown to enjoy,” said Steve Cramer, president & CEO, mpls downtown council. “The Prince mural will provide another exciting draw as people come to Downtown to enjoy arts and culture, sporting events, and local establishments. This is a great way for our entire community to gather and celebrate Prince’s legacy.”
The mural painting is set to begin on Monday, May 16th and will be completed on Thursday, June 2nd.
Corporate and individual sponsors, partners, and contributors are still welcome. For a full list of sponsors and more information, please visit: CrownOurPrince.com.
About Hiero Veiga
With over 21 years of experience, Hiero has evolved from writing graffiti to curating hyperrealistic pieces ranging from portraits, natural scenery, and psychedelic art.
Hiero’s unique perspective and experience of light and color is reflected in his distinctive compositions. He has participated in countless mural festivals and collaborated with numerous artists in his community. His most prominent works were done in participation with Pow Wow! Mural Festivals, including a mural displayed in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Hiero is based in Florida, but you can find his work in the streets, businesses, and galleries across the United States, Jamaica, and Canada.
About Sharon Smith-Akinsanya
Sharon Smith-Akinsanya is the CEO of Rae Mackenzie Group (RMG), an internationally acclaimed, award-winning diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) marketing firm. For more than 20 years she has used her Leading Out Loud methodology to advise Fortune 500 companies, CEOs, non-profits, and top employers to help them build more authentic relationships with Communities of Color, Consumers of Color, and Professionals of Color.
Most recently, Sharon and her agency were recognized for DEI Product Leader of the Year and DEI Service at the inaugural Anthem Awards—produced by the Webby Awards to amplify voices that spark global change. Moreover, RMG was recently honored internationally for its initiatives to raise awareness about Black voting rights and violence against Black people.
To help even more leaders succeed in fulfilling their DEI strategies, she authored the book COLORFULL: Competitive Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent of Color. COLORFULL unlocks the secrets for creating workplaces that consistently attract, develop, and retain Professionals of Color with actionable strategies supported by first-hand interviews with Fortune 500 CEOs and CHROs.
About Joan Vorderbruggen
Joan Vorderbruggen is a nationally recognized leader in the field of public art and creative placemaking and a sought-after speaker and advisor. In the past seven years while navigating the partnerships and processes of developing and implementing the only officially sanctioned mural of Prince, Joan also led the creation of six large scale murals in Downtown Minneapolis, including the iconic Bob Dylan mural by internationally renowned street artist Eduardo Kobra.
Joan is a 2018-2019 Humphrey Policy Fellow and one of 23 people selected as a 2017-2018 Creative Community Fellow by National Arts Strategies. She is an Associate Certified Coach and serves on the board of directors of Forecast Public Art and the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center. Joan is the chair of the Minneapolis Arts Commission and serves on its Policy and Advocacy Committee.
About the mpls downtown council
Founded in 1955, and one of the most historic central business associations in the nation, the mpls downtown council (mdc) is a membership-based entity that works to create an extraordinary downtown. The mdc’s collaborative development of Intersections: Downtown 2025 Plan was designed to help downtown businesses, community leaders, and citizens build on downtown assets and implement future goals.
About the Mpls Downtown Improvement District
The Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID) is a business funded non-profit focused on creating a more vibrant downtown. DID leads and collaborates on programs that make downtown safer, cleaner and greener. DID convenes people across sectors and jurisdictions to work on issues of mutual interest; develop innovative solutions to complex public space challenges/opportunities including strategic activation and seek continuous improvement of ongoing programs including the ambassadors.