Hats Off to Josh Montgomery, Shannon Draper and Tara Aiken

Starting with a Vision – Ending with a Giant Ladybug

Josh and Shannon envisioned the giant ladybug intersection painting project, and artist Tara Aiken brought it to life.

Josh Montgomery and Shannon Draper live in the small suburban town of Hopkins, Minnesota in a neighborhood called, “The Avenues”. The Avenues are noted for tree-lined sidewalks and its proximity to downtown Hopkins. Josh grew up in his Hopkins home and purchased it from his mother.

Josh was involved with a similar painting project in Seattle and thought that would be a great fit for Hopkins. Painting an intersection gives a community an interesting landmark. More importantly, the process of painting an intersection gives the community a task that everyone can help with and feel pride in.

From Vision to Reality

Josh brought up the idea to the Hopkins Avenues Neighborhood Association (the “ANA”) at its annual meeting and the ANA enthusiastically endorsed it. But that was just the beginning. Josh still needed approval from the City of Hopkins, to raise funds to pay for the paint and obtain permits, and to find an artist.

Josh and Tara found Tara Aiken, a chalkboard artist who lives in the area. The design features a ladybug on a raspberry flower surrounded by leaves from a raspberry bush. Hopkins, Minnesota is known as the raspberry capital of the world.

This video by filmmaker Bob Metoxen documents the project from the street cleaning to the final touches.

Obviously, a project like this has many people and organizations to thank. Here is a short list :

  • The City of Hopkins for providing a grant through the “Building Safer Communities” micro-grant program; issuing the permit; following through with the early morning street cleaning
  • Hirshfields assistance with figuring out paint quantity and colors
  • The ANA East Neighborhood Association which provided additional support to help pay for a portion of the paint
  • Individual donors that contributed financially to the project
  • ANA East neighbors and friends who helped with the painting itself

Comments from the Project Leaders

This is the best Avenues neighborhood! We all band together & do fun things all year long, with and without the kids. We are really good about being together as a community! Josh did all the work getting everyone together, the city, ANA (Avenues Neighborhood Association), the chalk artist Tara Aiken, & paint from Hirshfields! It took a whole community to put it together and it has been fun!

Shannon Draper

It was a long time coming, we started thinking about this a year ago! When I first pitched it to the city, I think they sort of blew me off thinking it was a joke. But we were able to generate some excitement through the Neighborhood Association and with our chalk artist Tara Aiken. It is a great community-building activity. It’s one of the greatest neighborhoods in America, I firmly believe that. (Josh was involved in a similar project in Seattle, Washington).

Josh Montgomery

I received an email from Josh a couple months ago and he told me about the project he was involved with in Seattle (The Wallybug) and asked me if I would like to be involved here. I said sign me up right away, this sounds like an amazing project to be a part of. From there, it just took off! Through the design process, I started sketching different ladybugs with different shapes and styles. We didn’t want to just paint a giant raspberry on the street for Hopkins (the Raspberry Capitol of the World) but we included the shape of a raspberry flower and leaves and incorporated that into the ladybug design. We really wanted to make everyone happy with the design, the neighborhood, homeowners, & the city.

Tara Aiken, artist

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