Inspired by the big blank canvas on the parking lot wall, local artists Rose Spieler-Sandberg and Mae Stoutenburg approached the Chequamegon Food Co-op in late summer of 2018, asking if they could help to organize the creation of a whimsical mural for the wall, involving community in every step of the project. Their idea was to create a mural using paint, mosaics, and photography, to celebrate local food.
Both Mae and Rose were leaders in executing the Tunnel Project in 2016, a community mural project in Ashland which used stained glass mosaics and paint to explore the flora and fauna of our region. The project was a huge success, and helped plant the seeds of confidence for the Chequamegon Food Co-op Community Mural Project. Both artists have a sense of love and pride for our natural world, and a determination to organize public art projects that celebrate the intrinsic beauty of it.
The community meetings for the co-op mural started in the fall, when citizens came together to explain what types of elements they would like to see in the mural. Using this information, the artists came up with several designs, which were then presented to the community for feedback and revision. Community mosaic sessions have been happening weekly since March, 2019. Over 100 participants have participated in the mural, to date.
The artists have applied for and received a couple of grants to help offset the cost for the materials of the mural. All of the funding raised by the community will go to pay the artists for the time that they are spending on organizing this project.
Chequamegon Food Co-op is committed to providing our community an enhanced quality of life. That is our mission and we meet it through a number of Ends (our organizational purpose). We do this by ensuring that people have access to healthy, organic, and locally produced goods which in turn assists in providing our community with a thriving local economy. To support these goals, we provide information to help our community be more knowledgeable about choices that impact the economy, personal wellness, and the environment.
How does a mural fit into all of this and why are we asking for your assistance in this project? This mural project would be a visible interpretation of our Ends and allow us to bring awareness to our mission. By promoting community involvement in the process from start to finish, we hope to increase awareness of how the Co-op can be a force of change FOR our community with strong support FROM our community.
On the surface, a mural is just a pretty picture. But this project will go much deeper than that. We want the community to be involved in designing, creating, and celebrating a masterpiece that focuses on our shared love (and need) of good food.
With a donation from you, we can make this vision a reality. We hope that you believe so as well.
All donors who give their name will be recognized on a sign in the store's entryway. Thank you in advance for your support!
The Co-op Community Mural Project is a partnership project with the Alliance for Sustainability. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Chequamegon Bay Arts Council and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Funding has also been given by the Ashland Foundation.