The Old Man and the Lake

Photo: William Hurst

The Old Man and the Lake

Mollie Maxine - June 2021

“When did that happen?” 

Sometimes art happens in the blink of an eye. The Old Man and the Lake by Mollie Maxine is one of those art happenings. 

UM-D Fine Arts graduate Maxine was exploring the Lincoln Park neighborhood when she stumbled upon The Back Alley. She immediately clicked with Owner Jerome Fischer. When he found out Maxine was an artist, he mentioned that he really wanted an art piece on the half pipe that faces Superior Street. “So I just started painting,” said Maxine. 

Over the course of four days, The Old Man and the Lake was created. Applied directly to the surface using acrylics, Maxine not only painted, but also connected with the community.  “I started painting and created great friendships. People came with their lawn chairs and guitars and cold beverages and made music while I worked.” 

Maxine observed how the world turned inward during the COVID-19 pandemic. The immediacy of creating public art wherever possible is part of making intentional connections with people, especially in times where physical distancing is necessary. It was her desire to uplift the artistic community, bring attention to this occupation that was hit hard with art shows and openings closed due to COVID-19, and recognize an economic sector that often goes unacknowledged. She notes how lucky we are to have a lot of green space and nature to get lost in throughout Duluth that keeps artists of all kinds inspired. Maxine puts it simply, “It’s a beautiful place”.

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Photo: William Hurst

Mural Location

The Back Alley, 2409 W Superior St (freestanding in the alley)