Humans, Join Us!

Kristin Giordano and Mindy Barker have created a mural so ridiculously adorable, and irresistible that it is sure to cause an accident. In large, bold letters “Humans, Join Us! TM” is declared by a giant mob of cuddly animals on roller skates, bicycles and skateboards. What more needs to be said?

Streetside Artscape:
Kristin Giordano & Mindy Barker /  Humans, Join Us!

Market Street side of 953 Market St. Building
September 2, 2013 – February 1, 2014

Mindy Barker installing “Humans, Join Us”, a collaboration with Kristin Giordano.


There’s a new and noteworthy art venue shaking up downtown Tacoma: The Market and South 11th Street Building. In a joint initiative in June, Spaceworks and transportation advocate Downtown on the Go invited local artists to submit ideas for transforming the exterior of this long-vacant building into an outdoor exhibition space that would engage downtown commuters and pedestrians alike.

Just three months later, the results are overwhelming: three wall-size murals – by Jeremy Gregory, the creative duo of Kristin Giordano and Mindy Barker, and a team of artist-poets from Write@253 – have invigorated a drab gray block into a vibrant urban landmark that has passersby circling for a second look.

With a skin of art and poetry wrapping around three sides (the fourth is shared with an adjacent building), the vintage structure is akin to an architectural Rubik’s cube, inviting inspection from most any angle. The literary and visual artists were commissioned to create art on a transportation theme, but the writers were invited to expand beyond transportation to write about life on the busy streets of Tacoma.

Cattin' around: artist Mindy Barker.
Cattin’ around: artist Mindy Barker.

Barker and Giordano took over the Market Street wall with their whimsical work, Humans, Join Us! ™ Starring in this inter-species drama are larger-than-life meerkats, a towering polar bear, and other wild and domestic creatures – most shod in red sneakers, some sporting skateboards or other self-propelled modes of locomotion. According to their project proposal, the artists sought to convey a message that was “accessible, humorous, playful and contemporary,” while making the point that it is the human species whose movements leave behind a destructive carbon footprint. The playful yet powerful animal images were printed on paper and hand-transferred to the wall with weatherproof adhesive.