Mural grows on community room walls at Basics
JANESVILLE A room with four blank walls has become an adventure in art at the Basics Cooperative grocery store, 1711 Lodge Drive.
Basics employee Allegrea S.B. Rosenberg has spent recent months transforming the walls of the store’s community room with acrylic paints.
The room has become a place for public meetings on a wide range of topics in the four years since Basics moved to its new building.
Rosenberg’s boss, Lynette Wirth, approached her about making one wall into a mural with the theme “from farm to table.”
But once she got going, she just couldn’t stop, Rosenberg said.
The mural now covers about 1,500 square feet from floor to ceiling. It is a changing landscape that also reflects the four seasons.
Rosenberg, an accomplished artist as well as a vegan and animal-rights activist, said she did not portray animals as food. She painted cows and horses as living in an animal-rescue farm.
Rosenberg has drawn everything freehand. She has gotten help from her mother, Val Saxer, also an artist. Saxer did the sky.
“She is the queen of painting sky,” Rosenberg said of her mother. “It really made the whole thing come together.”
The work also features a basket of flowers. Rosenberg, who teaches art classes, has invited children to paint the flowers.
Rosenberg said she wants children to appreciate the beauty that is around them and to nurture the next generation.
“You can never start too early,” she said.
Basics has paid Rosenberg her regular wage to complete the project.
Employees, customers and others have asked the artist to include their ideas, including a crocodile at the suggestion of Rosenberg’s brother, and a sailboat in honor of her late father, who was a sailor.
She has painted scenes reflecting Thailand and Myanmar, adobe huts, yurts, mountains and glaciers. And there’s the Bob Barker, a ship from the “Whale Wars” TV show.
Rosenberg has gotten a request for people who want to be portrayed running nude in a field.
She said she’d have to get the boss’s approval for that.