Mural brings together community
It’s all about community.
Community is where you go to church, shop for groceries, meet your friends or earn your living.
That’s why the massive mural being painted on the inside of Riverfront’s Barberry Drive office and work center features scenes from the community.
Riverfront provides training and opportunities for people with cognitive disabilities and mental illnesses.
“The project is a representation of our belief that these folks are a part of—and an asset to—our community,” said Marcia Jagodzinske, president and CEO of Riverfront.
Janesville artist James Richter is painting the mural that runs across a series of interior walls.
“It’s going to have a town square look,” Richter said.
It’s fitting that Richter was chosen for the project: His “day job” is working at Catholic Charities with people who have developmental disabilities.
Most of the interior walls have a large picture window and a door, and Richter is painting them to look like storefronts. For example, he’s created a candy store, barbershop and a theater.
Some of the rooms will actually serve as what they are—the theater room will house a large screen television for movies.
He’s also painting a variety of local landmarks including Mercy Hospital and Rotary Gardens.
It was a daunting process to tackle.
“The walls were white, bland and institutional looking—and there’s 20-foot ceilings,” Richter said. “I have a little problem with heights, too. Some nights I was really holding on to that ladder.”
Local residents might remember the work Richter did for the Chevys on the Circuit project in the summer of 2006. He painted three cars including “See the USA in your Chevrolet,” “Baseball, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” and “Storm Chaser.”
Richter was recently featured in a two-man show at the Monroe Arts Center.
The artist has been working nights on the project since the last week in October, and he expects to be finished early in December.
The work will be especially meaningful for Riverfront’s clients, Jagodzinske said.
Some of Riverfront’s clients grew up in the community; others spent most of their lives in institutions.
“For some folks, we serve as the introduction to the community,” Jagodzinske said. “We wanted to reflect that community within our physical property.”