Mychal Batson, known artistically as Myc Dazzle is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, emcee, and music producer who has uses his many talents to fight gentrification while traveling the globe. 

In the past two years he’s lived in six different countries and is currently working from South Africa. He maintains a permanent residence in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul where he’s lived for the past nine years. With a deep connection to his hometown roots, Myc Dazzle has been working on various community development initiatives in the Frogtown/Rondo neighborhood for several years now. His most recent collaboration is with the Frogtown Community Center (Formerly Scheffer Recreation Center), set to open this fall. 

“This is such a win for the community. With gentrification hitting Frogtown/ Midway/ Rondo (so) hard, having space like this in the community sounds a bit like progress,” said Myc Dazzle. 

The artist’s contribution to the new community development is a mural in the new teen center (Teentopia). His inspiration behind the mural is the diverse community within Frogtown. Reflecting on his own upbringing in the St. Paul neighborhood he wanted the youth of today to see themselves in his artwork.

“It’s super necessary for youth in under-resourced to see themselves reflected – to have access to programming and spaces they wouldn’t otherwise,” said Myc Dazzle.

This personal, reflective, and community-centered art is a reoccurring theme in Batson’s work. Prior to designing the mural, he was commissioned by Frogtown Neighborhood Association to create the Frogtown Small Area Plan, an evolving planning document that allows the community to give input on what they’d like to see in their neighborhood over the next decade. Through community feedback and support from the City of St. Paul, Batson was able to illustrate the 126-page live document to be “absorbed” into the City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Unlike most urban planning documents, Frogtown’s Small Area Plan reads like an in-color comic strip with characters, dialogue, neighborhood highlights and future projections all designed by the hometown illustrator. This radical shift in the way that community visioning is documented increases the accessibility of neighborhood planning by amplifying the voices of residents and reducing literacy barriers. It also opens the door of urban planning to allow non-traditional players to have a seat at the table, i.e. artist Myc Dazzle. 

“My art is an example for people who look like me, that art can be a legitimate – even honorable – path to take. Through my art, I aim to provide my community with (some) much-needed reflection,” said Batson.

For more info on the community-centric artist visit www.MycDazzle.com.

(3) comments

jlap

What is “gentrification?” I’ll tell you EXACTLY what it is. Gentrification is a work that blacks and pathetic whites use to explain what happens when whites decide to move back in to areas that were once theirs. Does that offend you? Well guess what—claims of “gentrification” are ALWAYS synonymous with blacks saying “this is our area.” Which is to say—BLACKS WANT TO BE SEGREGATED. This “artist” is promoting it. They want “their” own neighborhoods. FANTASTIC! But when it, not if, never if, WHEN the area is plagued with violence—let’s see if this “artist” blames his own intellectually bankrupt culture or if he cries “injustice” by the hand of the white man.

Fayea

Actually gentrification is NOT a Blacks v. Whites thing at all. Gentrification is about poor neighbors which are generally inhabited by people of color, but not always, being renovated and invested in, in order to conform to middle class standards. The neighborhood then becomes too expensive for people who have historically lived there - generally because they were forced to live there due to segregation and racist housing policies. Those communities are not upset about the investment in their neighborhood, they’re upset that they’re not allowed to participate in it. As far as crime is concerned, yes it occurs more often in poor areas. You almost had your finger on why that is, it’s because those communities are heavily underinvested in. They lack resources for youth to attain higher social mobility or even after school programs etc., like the community center they’re building, to keep them off the street and doing something productive. This is still a gross simplification of the issue, but I hope it clarities some things.

Frogtown2019

I am glad they are building the community center. I think it's a good idea. I am wondering how that fights gentrification? Wouldn't more amenities raise the price of real estate in the surrounding area since it is more desirable?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.