Businessman turns problem hill into public art

When Mark Dzuic redeveloped the commercial site at 1911 Lyndale Ave. S., his biggest challenge was the hill at the back of the property that started collapsing when construction workers began excavating the foundation.

To remedy the problem, the Linden Hills businessman had a 15-by-50-foot retaining wall built at what he now calls Agora Market. With Dunn Bros Coffee and Quiznos getting ready to open, Dzuic hired local artist Gary White to create public art on the wall using nothing but spray paint.

The mural, titled "The Final Word," took two weeks to complete and has an underwater motif including whales, fish and underwater plants. Drivers and pedestrians heading downtown or entering the nearby I-94 ramp can see it.

"Mark wanted the underwater mural to be blue to go with the royal blue of the building," said White, a Seattle artist who moved to the Twin Cities a year ago. "It should be completed by the time Quiznos has their grand opening on May 14."

The site is no stranger to art; until recently, it featured an elaborate fieldstone waterfall that long ago became overgrown with weeds.