Stevens Point murals: Public art celebrates women, amplifies voices – Artists include Sheboygan Campus lecturer Erin LaBonte
STEVENS POINT – Taking in the mural, your eyes might first stop on the brightly colored shapes in the background and the immense, stoic profile of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.But as your gaze lingers, you begin to notice the smaller intricacies and symbols in the mural. The crown on Ginsburg’s head, the words emblazoned on her collar, the smaller painted scene off to the side.
The mural, painted by Stevens Point artist Jessie Fritsch, is nestled between Mid-State Technical College and Sunset Point Winery in downtown Stevens Point. It’s one of many murals that have gone up within the last year, each with its own imagery and deeper meaning hiding within the bigger scene. Murals have decorated walls throughout Stevens Point for decades. Well-known pieces, such as the downtown “Rivermen” mural, which was painted in 2004 and depicts the early days of logging in Stevens Point, and the “Market Square” mural, which was painted in 2006 and shows what common activity would have been like on the square in the early 1900s, have become a part of the the city’s charm.
…Erin LaBonte, 38, painted the mural on the side of Falcon One Stop in Amherst. The mural features a quote from Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who is known for fighting for the rights of young girls in the Middle East to receive an education. Yousafzai became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17.
LaBonte, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate, is an assistant lecturer at the UW-Green Bay, Sheyboygan Campus and owns an art studio in Algoma named Yonder.vThe mural reads, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
Malala’s famous words are painted inside the shape of a bird, which LaBonte said she chose to represent a sense of freedom.