Hunger Has No Color

Mural history

Artists: John Acosta, Richard Schletty, Armando Gutierrez G.

Year Completed: 1985

Dimensions: 60 ft. wide x 12 ft. high

Location: South wall of Captain Ken’s Foods building, at 107 East Colorado Street, at intersection of So. Robert Street, 4 blocks north of Cesar Chavez Street (old Concord Street), on Saint Paul’s “West Side”.

Medium/Materials: Acrylic-latex house paints — used only primer colors dark brown and white. Original intention was to do the underpainting in grayscale and lay transparent washes of color over that (Bistre method). The grayscale painting by itself ended up having a remarkable strength without the addition of color…so we left it that way. That is in contrast to other West Side murals which are typically brightly colored.

Funding: COMPAS, Northern States Power, First National Bank.

Commissioned by: Emergency Fund Service (aka St. Paul Food Bank)…now known as Second Harvest.

Grant written by Anne Maertz.

Purpose of mural: Promote food shelf at Neighborhood House. Raise people’s awareness of the issue of hunger. Pictured are people from different nationalities working to eliminate hunger.

Miscellaneous: Commercial offset lithographic prints were made of the mural.

Dedication in 1985. L to R: Armando Gutierrez, John Acosta, Mayor George Latimer, Richard Schletty, Dick Goebel.

Schletty posing in front of his portrait at 1985 dedication

People viewing new Hunger mural 1985

People viewing new Hunger mural, 1985

2023-2024 restoration of Hunger Has No Color mural

The Saint Paul City Council has approved a $13,600 Neighborhood STAR Year-Round Grant to provide a major assist with the restoration of the “Hunger Has No Color” mural. This historic mural is on the south facing wall of Captain Ken’s Foods building at 107 East Colorado Street, at the intersection of So. Robert Street, on Saint Paul’s “West Side”.

Additional funds are being provided by building owner Captain Ken’s Foods. This includes the planning and placement of a heavy duty gutter above the mural (for protection from roof run-off of rain and melting ice and snow) which cost $1,l65 and was completed in early 2023. Captain Ken’s Foods will also be contributing $3,400 toward materials, equipment rental fees and artist’s labor.

The total budget for the Hunger restoration is $18,165. Work will begin in the spring of 2024 – as soon as warm weather arrives. We estimate that the restoration will be completed by mid to late summer 2024.

The complete restoration of the Hunger Has No Color mural is a project of collective passion. It is a rare opportunity due to the potential involvement of the mural’s three original creating artists – John Acosta, Armando Gutierrez G., and Richard Schletty. The mural was originally created in 1985 and has been maintained to the best of our abilities since then for the past 39 years.

Please contact John Traxler at and/or if you have comments about the restoration or simply wish to express your appreciation for this long-lived mural. And please send any past photos or news clippings you may have related to the Hunger Has No Color mural.

The photos immediately below, taken in fall of 2022, show the fading that had occurred due to sunlight and the damage due to water freeze-thaw cycles. The gutter problem, as described in this document, has been fixed. A new heavy duty gutter has been installed by Captain Ken’s Foods (as noted above).

2010 restoration of “Hunger Has No Color” mural

Restoration work began in mid-September 2010. John Acosta and Richard Schletty restored weather-damaged areas. We gave the entire mural a “fresh-up” to restore sun-faded areas.

Funding for the 2010 restoration of the “Hunger Has No Color” mural was provided by Captain Ken’s FoodsThe City of St. Paul Cultural STAR program, and the Riverview Economic Development Association.

Photos of 2010 restoration