Eight of these murals, marked with an asterisk, were created in partnership with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and the Wisconsin Arts Board to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. These murals, organized by CREATE Portage County, incorporate quotes authored by women from marginalized backgrounds, adding vibrant and meaningful public art that honors unique locations across Portage County.
Explore all 13 murals and the creative stories that inspired them:
Why This Location? Zest is a coffee shop and bakery located on the edge of UW-Stevens Point. It is a wonderful community space but tucked into a location that is hard to find. The mural helps to grow the visibility of this hot spot!
You Might Not Know: You can watch videos of octopi, known for being able to get out of almost any situation, spinning lids of jars or sliding through impossibly small holes. This content was chosen to remind us that we too will get out of the pandemic.
Stephon “KiBA” Freeman
About This Mural: UW-Stevens Point alum and Chicago-native-turned-local-artist Stephon “KiBA” Freeman painted a mural on the wall of Worzalla Publishing in Stevens Point. His mural features a young girl reading and scenes from her imagination.
Why This Location? Worzalla is an employee-owned printing company founded in 1892 that produces high-end books for major publishers.
You Might Not Know: From Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Where the Wild Things Are, the books of your childhood were likely printed in Stevens Point, WI.
About This Mural: Local encaustics artist Jessie Fritsch and her art sisters painted a mural on the backside of the Mitchell Square Building as the cornerstone project of eight murals celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Why This Location? The eight murals connected to the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission span Portage County. We wanted an iconic mural in a high-visibility location to grow awareness of the project and encourage people to visit the other seven.
You Might Not Know: In addition to memorializing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this mural celebrates one woman of influence for every year since the 19th Amendment was ratified and includes many women important to Portage County’s history.
About This Mural: UW-Stevens Point alum Jon King painted the City of Wonderful Water typography mural on the wall of Father Fat’s Public House in Stevens Point.
Why This Location? Father Fats serves up shareable small plates that blend the tastes of New York, Asia, Spain, and the Deep South. The restaurant is a key contributor to the thriving local food scene in Central Wisconsin, which takes farm-to-table to a whole new level.
You Might Not Know: Stevens Point got the nickname “The City of Wonderful Water” in the 1920s when it built Iverson Park to protect its drinking water. It reclaimed the title in 2010 when it won a taste test for best drinking water in the U.S.
About This Mural: Milwaukee artist John Kowalczyk painted this trippy nature mural on the backside of two downtown storefronts in Stevens Point. The artwork plays with local flora by integrating images of the animals they are named for.
Why This Location? When Stevens Point razed its mall, it exposed the backsides of storefronts along the northside of Main Street. This mural is part of an effort to beautify what became visible as a result of that demolition.
You Might Not Know: The land now called Stevens Point has a rich history of conservation. For 14,000 years it was home to the Menominee tribe, whose forest stewardship informed what became sustainable forestry. In 1946, UW-Stevens Point created the first conservation major in the country.
Erin LaBonte & David Carpenter*
About This Mural: UWSP alum Erin LaBonte and David Carpenter of Yonder Arts painted a mural featuring a quotation from Malala Yousefzai on the facade of Falcon One Stop in Amherst, WI.
Why This Location? This mural on Falcon One Stop adds vivid color to downtown Amherst, a smaller community in Portage County that has a rich arts scene with many artist studios nearby. You can visit these studios every October as part of the Hidden Studios Tour.
You Might Not Know: The People’s Fair in nearby Iola in 1970 rivaled Woodstock and drew a crowd of about 85,000 people, many of whom made a home in the Tomorrow River area that includes Amherst.
About This Mural: Central Wisconsin resident and UW-Stevens Point alum Thomas Moberg painted a landscape mural on the wall of MC Z’s Brew Pub in Rosholt that is inspired by the farm fields that surround Rosholt.
Why This Location? MC Z’s Brew Pub is a family-friendly microbrewery that serves soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and appetizers. One of nine local breweries, wineries, and distilleries that make up the Central Wisconsin Craft Collective, Mc Z’s is part of the rich history of beverage making in Portage County.
You Might Not Know: Hops have been grown in Rosholt for generations. The community used to host dances to celebrate the hops harvest. Rosholt-grown hops are still used in local beers today!
About This Mural: Minneapolis artists Xee Reiter painted a mural in tribute to the Hmong refugee experience on the wall of the Point Market and Vietnamese Restaurant on the southside of Stevens Point.
Why This Location? Stevens Point is home to many Hmong community members and the Point Market and Vietnamese Restaurant is one of the many cultural assets we have because of the contributions of this community. The restaurant serves pho and other traditional cooking and the market imports Asian grocery items.
You Might Not Know: The Hmong community served as allies to the U.S. during the Vietnam War. After the fall of Long Cheng, a CIA airbase in Laos, many Hmong people were evacuated or fled to refugee camps in Thailand. The bright-colored bags featured in this mural are often called “refugee bags” and were used to hold their belongings.
About This Mural: Ho-chunk artist Christopher Sweet painted a mural on the barn at Fernwood Acres to recognize the influence of the Haudenosaunee on the Women’s Suffrage movement.
Why this location? Fernwood Acres is a farm south of Amherst on Highway 54 between Plover and Waupaca. The mural is best viewed when driving west and is nearby to Hartman Creek State Park, which offers camping, mountain biking, and access to the Ice Age Trail.
You Might Not Know: Christopher Sweet’s cousin Denise Sweet was the Poet Laureate of Wisconsin and wrote an original poem “Song for Seven Sisters” to accompany this mural.
Isaac Tapia & Rodrigo Alvarez (IT-RA Icons)*
About This Mural: The Kansas City duo Isaac Tapia and Rodrigo Alavarez, also known as IT-RA Icons, painted a mural on the wall of Adelante to celebrate the growing Latinx community in Almond, featuring a young girl looking up at the stars.
Why this location? Adelante is a local farm-to-table café, coffee roastery, food marketplace, commercial kitchen to rent, and community gathering space in Almond, WI. It was a perfect spot for this mural due to its weekly pizza and taco nights, which draw a crowd to this outdoor dining space.
You Might Not Know: This mural is based on a quotation by Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut who first traveled into space in 1993. On her four spaceflights, Ochoa spent more than 40 days in space.
About This Mural: Florida artist Jason Tetlak painted this train-inspired mural on the former Central Waters Brewing location in Junction City.
Why this location? This mural location was once home to Central Waters Brewing, which has now moved to Amherst and has opened a second location in Milwaukee. Central Waters, best-known for its barrel-aged brews, is a part of the rich brewing tradition that started with the Point Brewery, the fifth-oldest continuously operated brewery in the U.S.
You Might Not Know: Jason Tetlak has studied paint colors to figure out how to make 3D murals. When viewed through a red filter, these paintings reveal a hidden image.
The Thielking-Brunett Family*
About This Mural: UW-Stevens Point art professor Kristin Thielking, Keven Brunett and their kids painted a mural featuring a mermaid on the support pillar of a bridge that crosses the Wisconsin River adjacent to a bike trail called the Green Circle Trail.
Why this location? The Green Circle Trail is a 28-mile bike loop that encircles Stevens Point and takes cyclists and hikers through some of our most beautiful nature areas. We wanted more art to greet people making use of this trail system.
You Might Not Know: To paint this mural, the artists had to set up scaffolding in a moving river that was about three feet deep. The mural also extends to the bridge and trail creating an immersive art experience.
About This Mural: Madison artist Amy Zaremba and friends painted a mural honoring the potato-growing traditions of Almond, Wisconsin on the Almond Public Library.
Why this location? The Almond Public Library also serves at the Village Hall and is in the center of the community. Mural locations were chosen in part to spread creative energy to all communities in Portage County.
You Might Not Know: This mural integrates the colors of the suffragettes: purple, white, and gold.
Projects marked with an asterisk are part of a partnership with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and the Wisconsin Arts Board that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment through murals that incorporate inspirational quotations authored by women from marginalized backgrounds, adding vibrant and meaningful public art that honors these unique locations. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission was created by Congress to coordinate a nationwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, ensuring that Americans across the country find inspiration in this important milestone.