SLC's Erin LaBonte among artists selected to paint downtown mural

Posted On April 15, 2015

The Washington Street Antique Mall, located in downtown Manitowoc at 910 Washington St., will get a new look this summer thanks to four local artists who will paint a mural on its outside west wall.

“The design is based on the farmers market and the idea of celebrating local agriculture — from field to mouth, you might say,” said Erin LaBonte, Assistant Professor of Art at Silver Lake College, one of the artists collaborating on the mural. “We wanted the mural to be upbeat and colorful, giving community members a chance to reflect on our relationship to nature.”

The artists were awarded the mural project in a juried process. In addition to LaBonte, they include Heiden Hippert, a Manitowoc native and soon-to-be graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Stephanie Carpenter, Assistant Director of the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers; and David Carpenter, instructor at The Academy of Fine Art in Denmark.

Plans are to install the mural in June and hold a dedication reception on June 30.

The artists were asked to design a mural that is relevant to the community and highlights local culture. Artists also needed to consider scale, as appropriate to the location’s surroundings, as well as the physical and social context of the work.

The project is an effort to attract area residents and tourists to the downtown area so they can experience not only the mural, but local shops, restaurants and other attractions, LaBonte said.

The mural is a project of Mainly Manitowoc and is made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board, matched by a grant from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation.

Artists will be responsible for coordinating the installation of the mural, including supply orders, arranging equipment and gathering volunteers. Mainly Manitowoc’s architects, designers and contractors will offer technical and labor assistance.

A call for artists was sent out at the end of January, and the four artists were selected during judging that took place at Silver Lake College.

Judges included Jason Prigge, Manitowoc artist; Jamie Zastrow, volunteer; Greg Vadney, director of the Rahr-West Art Museum; Berel Lutsky, Associate Professor of Art with the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc; and Lisa Nelson, Mainly Manitowoc board member. Tony Fodden, of Mainly Manitowoc, also was part of the jurying process.