Salt City Market mural work begins in Syracuse, and you can help

Even before the Salt City Market opened, a faded red heart facing the property’s north wall has remained a notable Syracuse meeting spot for date nights, dinners and endless photo shoots.

Now the 30-year-old painted heart will become just one part of a massive new mural spanning the entire wall of the market’s outdoor dining space.

The Syracuse Urban Partnership, which owns the Salt City Market, chose muralist and graphic designer Audra Linsner, owner of Three of Four Design Co. in Aurora, NY, to create the masterpiece.

Linsner’s vibrant mural design will feature 43 food items, each chosen for their cross-cultural versatility and ubiquity. It’ll have coffee, noodles, rice, mushrooms, avocado, okra, dumplings, and even a 25-foot-tall corn stalk.

“I try to inject a lot of color into what I do,” Linsner told “I love simple visuals that are fun and bright. You also have to think about the space and the context of how many cultures are represented [at the market].”

The mural showcases cuisine provided by the market vendors, with the intention to celebrate how people are united by food and culture.

There are a few Syracuse nods as well — note the small orange and salt shaker near South Salina Street.

The mural won’t be painted on the market itself, but it’ll be on the Whitlock Building, a mixed-use property at 476-480 S. Salina St. facing the market’s outdoor patio. Even in the winter, customers can view it through the massive windows at Salt City Coffee.

Linsner began the mural outlines and painting this month. Completion is slated for mid-October 2022.

Now the public can be part of the process.

Salt City Market will host a community painting event on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 1-4 pm

Anyone can meet Linsner and help paint a section of the mural on Saturday afternoon. Arrive between 1-4 pm, snag a brush, cup of paint and a ground-level spot on the wall.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Linsner said, about the community painting event. “It’s going to be a big paint-by-numbers. You can bring your kids. There’s no need to worry about any mistakes.”

Painting volunteers, wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. No experience is necessary.

Free s’mores will be available for the helpers.

The Salt City Market mural will be Linsner’s largest work so far. The space measures almost 35 feet tall by 110 feet wide.

Based in the Finger Lakes region, Linsner started Three of Four Design Co. in 2020. She graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse and Maxwell schools in 2019. Her mural work can be seen in Ithaca, Geneva, Penn Yan, the Buffalo area and Jackson, Ohio.

Jeff Beck of United Trades of CNY scraped and prepped the “old, bumpy” brick wall for painting, which Linsner said would ensure the mural would stay bright for 20-30 years.

The Syracuse Urban Partnership chose Linsner’s design from almost two dozen submissions for the wall from local, regional and national artists. The initial project budget ranged from $35,000-$75,000.

The market also plans to release an app where viewers can scan a QR code to digitally view the mural and learn facts about each food.

Salt City Market opened in January 2021 and features a 10-vendor food hall, co-op, and coffee shop/bar on the first floor, offices on the second floor, and mixed-income housing on the third and fourth floors.

More Syracuse mural news:

• ‘Legendary Syracuse Firsts’ basketball mural completed after 5 weeks (video)

• New Syracuse mural in Armory Square is tailor-made for Instagram

• Three new, huge murals coming soon to some prominent Syracuse buildings

• Syracuse painter ditches alcohol for art, finishes 3-story mural on Northside (video)

• Downtown’s historic McCarthy Building forever home to the Heart of Syracuse

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