By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations
Silver Lake College’s Erin LaBonte has had her hand in numerous murals in Manitowoc and Two Rivers.
It should come as no surprise that Bev Denor, the owner of LaDeDa Books & Beans in Manitowoc, asked if the associate professor of art and her students would be interested in creating a work of art for the exterior of her building.
“I was planning on incorporating a mural project into my painting class and saw it as an opportunity to do so,” said LaBonte, who also is art department co-chair. “Bev shared with my students her idea of creating an image about imagination and all the places that reading can take you, basing her concept on Dr. Seuss.”
The owner of the bookstore at 1624 New York Ave. told them she didn’t want anything cutesy, LaBonte said.
“For years, I have been mulling over what to do with that big white space of nothing in front of my building,” Denor said. “I got to know Erin through a partnership with Silver Lake College and Heart-A-Rama. One thing led to another and voila – I have a mural. Silver Lake College has become a more visible part of the community through the work Erin and her students have been doing.”
Students created two designs each and Denor selected the images that most interested her. The designs were revised and edited until there was one final image.
LaBonte and her students brought the design to Manitowoc City Hall, where it was approved by the council before the painting began on Oct. 3 and took two weeks to complete.
“The theme of the image is that of imagination and inspiration, but it also embraces a sense of irony in its representation of the relationship between man and nature. The silhouette of a man is sitting on a stump. His head is replaced by a pile of books. A parrot on a nearby branch is interacting with the figure,” LaBonte said.
The colors chosen by the artists complement the pre-existing color palette of the bookstore, she said.
“We came out in advance and projected an image of the mural on the wall. It helped to us see what the completed project would look like,” said Silver Lake College student Fernie Torres.
“What I like about the mural is that everyone in the community has been supportive. Even the mayor (Justin Nickels) came out to see our progress,” said student Allan Jaeger.
In addition to Torres and Jaeger, Silver Lake College painting students taking part in the project included Megan Baradic, Curtis Chalmers, Miranda Chase, Catie Minter, Quinn MacIsaac, David Martinez Morant, Sarah Presley and Brental Thomas.
To see more photos, click here.