Community-made clay mural adds art to the heart of downtown Green Bay

GREEN BAY (WLUK) — After more than 900 sets of hands created a new clay mural in downtown Green Bay this summer, a ceremony was held Tuesday to officially dedicate the piece.

Northeast Wisconsin residents of all ages and abilities played a part in the mural’s design during the inaugural ArtFest Green Bay in July. Two local artists, Keith Carter and Don Krumpos, helped participants handle wet clay to create texture, add dimension and apply colorful underglazes.

“We didn’t know how it was going to turn out, so there were a lot of steps along the way where there were unknowns. And it just really blew my expectations out of the water. It’s beautiful, as you see. The colors are great… It’s very impressive,” Krumpos said.

Named Spirit of the Fox by the community, the mural incorporates images of the Fox River surrounded by nature scenes.

“We realized the river really is a very important factor that everybody could connect to, regardless of religion or politics or anything else. It’s something we all have in common,” Krumpos explained. “So it was a natural thing to have as the subject matter. And then things surrounding the river, we decided to go with nature — animals, flora and fauna and those sort of things.”

The mural is three-feet tall, 30-feet long and located at 238 Walnut Street — next to DigiCopy and part of the Cherry Street Parking Ramp. Organizers say the spot is highly visible to both pedestrians and vehicles traveling through the downtown area.

Laura Schley, the city of Green Bay’s Public Arts Coordinator, said public art is a great way to share the community’s story with those who live, work and visit Green Bay.

“It was incredible to hear the amount of enthusiasm and joy from everyone that took part,” Schley said. “Everyone was so excited to have a piece in there and to be able to see it take shape.”

According to Jenny VandenLangenberg, director of first impressions for Downtown Green Bay, Inc., this is the start of what will become an annual ArtFest tradition.

“One of our missions it to leave a piece of art after the event that will be a part of our culture downtown, so every year that we do this we will have another piece to add to the collection.”

If you’d like to join in on the fun, mark your calendars: ArtFest Green Bay is scheduled for July 20 & 21, 2024.

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