Presenting Roseville’s old and now — ‘A Sense of Place’

Photo pairings such as these and more showing Roseville’s past and present will be a part of Bob Murphy’s “A Sense of Place” presentation on Thursday, Sept. 19, at Greenhouse Village Cooperative in Roseville. (photos courtesy of Bob Murphy)

Update: Organizers as of Sept. 3 said this event is full. 

Roseville mixed-media artist Bob Murphy is again showing photographs and other work about Roseville’s past and how it connects to now.

The 69-year-old native of the suburb will be presenting “A Sense of Place” on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. at Greenhouse Village Cooperative. It’s located at 1021 Larpenteur Ave. in Roseville. The event is free and open to all.

Murphy embarked on what’s become a series of presentations about Roseville a year ago, showing the work he’s created about his community since he began making photographs of it in 1969.

“It’s sort of getting a following and I’m glad to see that, as more people become aware,” he says.

“A Sense of Place” will feature Murphy’s photographic work from decades ago alongside photos he made this summer, diptychs with the purpose of showing past alongside present.

“[The presentation is] my perception and feelings about the geographic place that I have photographed in Roseville over a period of 50 years,” says Murphy.

Some of the photo pairings might show obvious change — a once-busy phonebooth that’s now vanished from the landscape — while another presents a gas station that’s endured half a lifetime, subtly showing huge differences in the price of petrol.

Murphy says he marvels at how Roseville, incorporated as a village only in 1948, went from being farmland to a wholly built, bustling environment. He mentions a particular aerial photo of the nascent suburb from 1953 — others are a Google away — and all that was open.

“It’s just so completely different and there’s just so much open space,” he says. “There isn’t much left, in that regard, anymore.”

Murphy’s presentations continue to be supported by Arts Roseville, the local arts nonprofit that seeks to support art and engage the city’s diverse communities. The first was at the Roseville Library, while the second presentation was a pairing with the Roseville Historical Society in May.

This third presentation was suggested by a Greenhouse Village resident, Murphy says. Alongside the photos it will include a short film.

Following a professional life in Minneapolis working in the ad world and teaching at the college level, Murphy says the emphasis of his work turned to where he grew up after he retired.

“When I came back to this area I decided that I was going to focus on this community, and that is part of the reason that I’m doing these presentations ... I’m finding it interesting and fun,” he says. “I guess that’s why I’m doing it.”


—Mike Munzenrider

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