Baraboo mural expands Saturday

July 30, 2018

Baraboo’s popular public mural will expand again this week, with an unveiling ceremony set for Saturday.

Launched in 2016 by the Baraboo Public Art Association, the “People of the Fabric of Our Community” project features paintings of local residents, living and dead, renowned and ordinary. This week it will grow to 47 portraits, covering the entire east wall of the former Spurgeon’s building at Fourth and Oak streets.

“We have been so pleased with the community’s enthusiasm for this project,” said Mayor Mike Palm, who formed the art association to beautify the community and celebrate its heritage. “This mural features portraits of local luminaries, for sure, but there are also others whose quiet efforts didn’t make headlines but they did make a difference. A community is a tapestry of contributions, large and small.”

The project has accepted all comers, as long as each application included pictures for the muralist to use, a handwritten narrative about the honoree and the $600 fee. With wall space at the old Spurgeon’s building running out and the Art Association working to line up locations for future mural displays, applications were cut off last month. Another 19 portraits are set to be painted by Kelly Meredith, the location of their placement yet to be determined.

“We are still offering the option for people to nominate friends or loved ones from the Baraboo area as a name-only ‘patch’ on two quilt-feature panels on the wall,” Art Association Chairwoman Bekah Stelling said. “For $100, they can have their name and three short descriptions included on the wall.”

Since its founding in 2012, the group has brought several large art installations to Baraboo. These include two hand-painted murals, as well as sculptures by Dr. Evermor and Will Turnbull. A full-size elephant sculpture is nearing completion by Iowa artist Larry Pearson and will be dedicated in Myron Park in August.

“Baraboo has caught the attention of several prominent organizations recently,” Palm said. “For example, last year U.S. News and World Report ranked Baraboo as one of six up-and-coming small towns in America to watch. Our commitment to beautify this place and celebrate who we are makes Baraboo not just a great place to live but an easy place to notice.”

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