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Get your selfies now: Building planned for Minneapolis lot where Prince stood for iconic music mural photo

The Schmitt Music mural on Jan. 5, 2021. (Jay Gabler/MPR)
The Schmitt Music mural on Jan. 5, 2021. (Jay Gabler/MPR)

by Jay Gabler

January 05, 2021

Every time there's mural news in Minneapolis, Prince fans panic. "They're not painting over that mural, are they?" No, they're not...but your days to pose for a photo with the music-stave mural are now numbered.

The Star Tribune reports that the downtown parking lot where Prince stood for that 1977 photo has been sold to a Houston-based developer and will likely become the home of an office tower. As of yet there are no concrete plans or timetable for construction.

While the development wouldn't destroy the mural itself, it would mean you could no longer see it from the same vantage point where photographer Robert Whitman stood to take the Prince photo. Since Prince's rise to superstardom, the spot has been a must-see for fans visiting Minneapolis, many posing for their own photos there. Photos from Whitman's session were published in the book Prince Pre-Fame.

The mural was originally painted just a few years before Prince posed; at the time, the building was home to Schmitt Music. The score pictured is from Maurice Ravel's 1908 piano composition Gaspard de la nuit. The genesis for the unusual mural was a 1972 column by the late Star Tribune columnist Barbara Flanagan, who urged owner Bob Schmitt to "make that wall sing!"

While the Schmitt wall may be the mural most famously associated with Prince, since his 2016 death numerous murals of Prince have sprung up across the Twin Cities. Among those who have paid tribute to the 1977 image is onetime Prince collaborator Lizzo, who stood in front of the mural in her 2018 "Boys" video.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.