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'That's the biggest thank you': Local artists grateful for Suni Lee social media post

The paintings dedicated to Suni Lee by her family last year are back in the spotlight after the St. Paul native posted a series of photos in front of them.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Murals of Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee sit side-by-side on this St. Paul building. 

"Instead of a silver medal, which the photographer captured, I put up a gold medal," said Twin Cities artist, Noval Noir.

"We were able to meet with Suni Lee's family about putting the mural together here, and we commissioned MK and another artist named Noval, and they put these murals together," said Richard Johson.

The paintings — dedicated to Suni Lee by her family last year — are back in the spotlight after the St. Paul native posted a series of photos standing in front of the murals with the caption: 

"First stop back home: so surreal seeing all the love and support I have, I finally got to see these in person and pictures don't do these murals justice."

"That's the biggest thank you; just having her post this and we hope to continue to do things with her after this," said Johnson.

For artist Noval — who painted one of the murals, being a part of this project was a no-brainer.

"I'm with an artist's cooperative called 'Creators Space,' and there are mixed media artists, visual artists, musicians," said Noir. "It's a community; I'm from St. Paul, she grew up in St. Paul."

Like the words written on this mural from recording artist Lil Crush, who dedicated a song to the Olympic gymnast.

"Someone all of our daughters can look up to; you can feel like Suni Lee, be like Gabby D.," said Johnson

They're supporting one of their own.

"Even myself as a father, I want to be like them, too," said Johnson.

Noir says she's still finishing up one of the murals, but expects to start working on it soon with the help of youth in the community.

Both artists say they're looking forward to meeting Suni Lee in person soon.

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