Downtown Mural Tour Uses Art to Highlight Town’s History
Rachel Pukall
rpuka198@uwsp.edu

Murals Unmasked, a downtown tour to learn more about iconic hometown citizens and historical events, took place in downtown Stevens Point on Saturday, April 13 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Andrea Szcepanski, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and leader of the tour, took a group of about 25 people through the downtown area, explaining the murals along the way.

“There are 10 murals all together and still more murals to come,” Szcepanski said.

Throughout the tour, Szcepanski talked about four of the 10 murals, one of them was one of the first painted in 2004 on the west wall of Van’s Floor Covering. The painting, titled “Rivermen,” depicts the early logging days on the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point and features historical figures like K.B. Willett, for whom the ice arena is named.

“Volunteers from the area helped the painter finish the mural by filling in colors by number after she painted the outline and base colors to make a huge paint-by-number,” Szcepanski said.

Kelly Meredith was the muralist who painted all but one of the murals in downtown Stevens Point. Some she painted directly on the buildings, and others she painted in her home and then placed on the buildings.

“Kelly Meredith painted all of them except the Cozy Kitchen one. That one was done by Greg Luedtke, who is a local artist,” Szcepanski said. “And then for the Rivermen mural she got help from a girl named Susan.”

“Paining the Town,” the mural located on the north wall of Cozy Kitchen, represents the thousands of locals and visitors that have enjoyed home-cooked meals at the restaurant.

Some of the other murals include “Stevens Point’s 10 Most Influential Citizens,” which is on the east side of 1140 Clark St. and displays individuals such as Lee S. Dreyfus, Mother Mary and K.B. Willett. They all contributed to Stevens Point somehow, and their names are on street signs, buildings and parks.

The Market Square Mural, which is the largest mural located on the north and west walls of Buffy’s on the square, was finished in less than one year.

“Kelly Meredith started painting the mural in the spring of 2006 and was finished in the fall, just in time for the Annual Polish Thanksgiving Harvest Fest,” Szcepanski said.

Other murals include “The Old Post Office,” located on the east wall of the new Post Office building, and a series of mini-murals along the walkway on the east side of the library.

There are also three “Windows to the Past” murals. The first, located on the McDonald Law office, shows five generations of the McDonald family that has been involved in the land title business. The second mural, located on the Point Bakery Building, depicts the opening of the Point Bakery back in 1947. Pictured in the mural is the owner, Ted Zdrojewski, and his two teenage daughters who worked there. The other murals is located on the west side of Graffiti’s.

Murals Unmasked was hosted by a practicum class that Szcepanski is taking for her Environmental Education and Interpretation minor. She performed all of the research herself.

“We have to put on two programs each semester, one that you chose and one that they give you,” Szcepanski said. “This one I was assigned, so I was a little nervous at first, but once I got all of the research and things done, it was really interesting to learn all the little historical things.”