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Baraboo community mural complete

August 6, 2018 GMT

Twelve new portraits were unveiled Saturday, rounding out a downtown mural that pays tribute to 47 influential Baraboo figures past and present.

“Behind me, we have an entire wall of givers,” said Kenneth Frank, who nominated Kenneth and Esther Lange, the outdoor enthusiasts and educators whose images were enshrined Saturday. “That’s the one thread that weaves through this fabric of this community.”

Other nominees whose portraits were revealed Saturday included James Williams (aka Happy the Clown), Glenn Reed Quale, Pat and John Villas, Father John T. Durward, Al. Ringling, Richard and Walter Jenks, Monsignor Francis Xavier Gray, and David Deppe.

The mural, located on the east wall of the former Spurgeon’s building at Fourth and Oak streets, is bookended by blocks of patchwork quilts, keeping with the theme of the “People are the Fabric of Our Community” project.

A plaque added to the mural clarifies that it is not a wall of fame, but rather a “visual celebration of who we are.” It says “Community is a tapestry of contributions — large and small,” and that “The people represented here have positively affected others in Baraboo.”

The project was launched in 2016 by the Baraboo Public Art Association, and the paintings were done by Kelly Meredith of Butternut. She is slated to paint another 19 nominees, who will be added to a second mural at a location yet to be determined.

Although nominations for the murals are closed, the association is accepting nominations for smaller name panels, which will replace the quilt blocks. Entries cost $100, and must include the nominee’s name as well as three short descriptions of that person.

Entry fees will help pay for future public art projects. Also Saturday, the arts group dedicated a second steel elephant sculpture – created by Iowa metal artist Larry Pearson — at Myron Park. That was made possible by an $8,000 donation from Baraboo resident Lucille Henry.

“When people come to Baraboo, they experience friendliness, they experience welcome,” art association committee member Morgan McArthur said during Saturday’s ceremony. “It’s projects like this that tell the world that the lights are on in Baraboo.”