By Joann M. Ringelstetter
In June, I published a blog post about the “Rivermen” mural in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, which we visited in September, 2012. After photographing that mural, Ruth and I located the largest of the many murals that were painted for the community by muralist Kelly Meredith.
This mural stretches across two sides of a brick building located on the square and it shows the activity on the market square in the early part of the twentieth century. It was inspired by a postcard photograph of Stock Fair Day in 1911.
In days gone by, Market Square was a meeting place for loggers and other early townspeople. Today, it serves as a marketplace for local farmers who sell fresh produce every Saturday morning from May through October.
Kelly painted this mural in 2006 between Memorial Day and Labor Day, finishing it in time for the Annual “Dozynki” (Polish Thanksgiving) Harvest Fest. This might seem like enough of a feat for a muralist to accomplish, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that she captured the faces of 130 different Stevens Point residents from the past and the present.
According to a local news story, Kelly said she wanted the community to take pride in local individuals from Stevens Point. She considered her artwork to be taking local history to a more intimate level by honoring actual people who ran or are currently running local businesses.
In order to raise funds for the project, faces were “for sale,” and community residents provided photos of friends and family members to be honored as a member of the crowd depicted in the mural.
Now, for a little fun, let’s play a game of “Where’s Waldo” (aka “Where’s Joann”). I am actually in three of the photos in this blog post. Did you notice me in any of the previous photos? After taking several photos of the mural that day, I left my camera on the tripod, started the timer, and ran into the scene to have my picture taken with the townspeople in the mural. I did this several times.
Near one end of the mural, there is a back door to a local tavern. As I went back and forth from the camera to the mural, people who were coming and going through that back door were entertained by my shenanigans and were watching me closely.
Did you find all three photos where I inserted myself? If not, you might have to click on the photos to bring them up in a larger size. You will then be in the photo gallery and will have to hit the back button on your browser to return to this blog post.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this story and my little game. If you’re ever in Stevens Point, make it a point to visit this wonderful mural, which is located in the downtown Public Square.