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Leslie Barlow Is the First Black Female Artist to Create MN State Fair’s Official Art

Plus a beloved coffeeshop is closing, more new unions, and 47 cats in a car in today's Flyover.

Leslie Barlow for Minnesota State Fair

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Official State Fair Art Just Dropped

Leslie Barlow creates art that represents snapshots in time, almost like a Polaroid picture. Her oil portraits often feature family, friends, and local activists in her neighborhood as they live their lives, protest, and share kind moments together. This year, she’s been tasked with creating the official commemorative art for the Minnesota State Fair, an event she grew up attending yearly as a south Minneapolis native. She is the first Black female artist–or female POC in general–to land the gig. “I was thinking of my own experiences at the fair,” Barlow tells Sahan Journal. “I didn’t see my own story represented in previous artworks.” The new, colorful artwork features a group of young friends hanging out at Midway in the evening. Be sure to check out Sahan’s Barlow profile, which includes a delightful mix of State Fair stories (like the time she won a stuff animal too big for her carry), her favorite eats (it’s on a stick), and what the Fair means to her as a Black Minnesotan.

No! Stevens Square’s Boiler Room is Closing

Well, shit. Yesterday morning Boiler Room Coffee announced that it will be closing its doors this month. The Minneapolis shop, which has been open for 11 years, was a hangout spot for many neighbors in the Stevens Square neighborhood. (Racket even profiled a loyal, 70-year-old customer earlier this year.) “We’re all sorry to say goodbye. Special thanks to our amazing staff during our service who understood the goal of ‘making each and every guest feel happy they came in,” writes a staffer via a Facebook post that has received over 80 comments and 237 reactions. The final day will be June 21, followed by what they are calling a “soft closing” from June 27-30 where they’ll have shortened hours from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Union Wave Hits Your Apartment Complex

You might not notice the 250 workers at First Service Residential, but they could be a big part of your life. Working inside condo and apartment buildings, they’re “the Swiss army knives for residents,” writes Minnesota Reformer’s Max Nesterak, folks who often work as “part security guard, part concierge, part janitor, part pool cleaner.” Those workers could soon unionize FSR, the Twin Cities’ largest property management company. Nesterak details how the company’s employees first attempted to do things the boss-preferred way, by bringing their grievances directly to leadership. “And they mostly ignored [them],” says desk attendant Josh Musikantow. So, last month, FSR employees asked their Bloomington-based employer to recognize their freshly formed union. The company declined, setting the stage for an upcoming election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Head over to the Reformer for a deep-dive into their union push, but no quotes from the brave, do-nothing management/ownership who declined multiple interview requests. 

Hot Cats Saved!

Stressful news for folks who feel obligated to rescue every adoptable animal they see: Almost 50 cats were saved from a hot car in a north metro rest stop Tuesday. (Yes, Tuesday—the hottest day of the year so far.) Despite the heat and unsanitary conditions, the 47 felines, who range from less than a year old to more than 12 years old, had “only minor medical issues,” the Star Tribune reports. They’re currently being cared for by the Animal Humane Society. The cats’ caretaker had been evicted from his home and was making the best of a “horrible situation,” Humane Society investigator Ashley Pudas told the Strib. “He had nowhere to go and he didn’t want to leave the animals behind,” she said. It’s very sad! We hope that all 47 cats and their owner get the help they need.