Outdoor art to adorn downtown
"This is a project that will hopefully be the start of a long-term effort to bring outdoor art on permanent display in the downtown," said Christine Moore, managing director of the Janesville Design & Development Center.
The design center is close to an agreement with a property owner on a building site for the first mural.
Two more murals will follow as the organization raises money to produce them.
The theme is Janesville's early history and will feature the reasons—agriculture, the river and the railroad—that Janesville became the community it is today.
"You can see from Janesville's early history why the community developed the way it did," Moore said.
A central figure in each mural will represent the working people who built Janesville. Other historical figures and places familiar to Janesville residents will be pictured in the background. Henry James, for example, is in the first mural that represents agriculture. The design will be on display at the Jackson Square open house Thursday.
The artist is Ron Wick of Rockford, Ill.
The art will be displayed on large canvases to be hung from buildings. The canvases are more durable than the traditional paint on brick, Moore said.
The total project for the three murals is about $69,000, and so far the development center has raised about $9,000.
"We certainly hope that once people see the first mural up that people will get excited," she said.
Moore still is looking for mural locations. The buildings must have a good-quality wall surface to hold a 25-by-30-foot mural.
Future phases of the Outdoor Art Campaign might include historical markers or statues of key community leaders, Moore said.
"I do think this is an exciting time to be referencing the history of Janesville. In spite of the challenges of this year, we have a terrific history of taking advantage of the opportunities that are around.
"We have a history of working-class people building this community," Moore said. "That's what these murals honor, and I think it is a way of hopefully giving some inspiration as we go forward, as we try to redefine ourselves in this new age."
A silent auction to raise money for the Outdoor Art Campaign will be held in conjunction with the Jackson Square open house Thursday.
Featured will be four tickets to the Nov. 16 Packers vs. Bears game at Lambeau Field, weekend luxury vehicle rental, rounds of golf, original art, dance lessons, guitar lessons, entertainment, food and gifts.
The auction will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at Jackson Square, 14-26 S. Jackson St.