Grant will help make murals a reality

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Four photo enlargements of historic McGregor buildings and scenes will grace the west side of Steve’s Silver Dollar. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

For years, the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts (MMCA) Board of Directors has entertained the idea of enriching downtown McGregor with artistic murals. A plan finally emerged in spring 2017, and a grant request was submitted to the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation (UMGC) for partial funding. In October, at UMGC’s annual awards banquet, the dream moved a step closer to reality, as MMCA representatives accepted a grant award of $6,450.

The mural project will tell a story from McGregor’s historic past, with 8-foot-by-16-foot aluminum frames holding four sepia-toned historic photo enlargements. The photos will be displayed on the west side of Steve’s Silver Dollar Saloon, a visible location for people both walking and driving down Main Street.

Two of the photo enlargements will feature the historic buildings destroyed in the July 19 tornado: the Goedert Meat Market (Main Street Mall) and the Troutfetter and Son Grocery building (INKspiration Tattoo). 

“It’s a great opportunity to honor these buildings,” said MMCA board member Beth Regan.

The other two photos will depict McGregor’s historic Main Street. Those scenes have yet to be determined, and the MMCA board hopes community members can help by sharing suitable photos. Contact Regan at (563) 880-8677 or Bonnie Pruett at (563) 873-1125 if you have a photo idea. A committee will select which two photos will be used in early February. 

Regan said the MMCA board looked into creating more traditional painted murals, but opted to go with photo enlargements because they were less costly and would also last longer.

“Painted on a building, it could wear off or fall off,” she said of the murals.

Funds from the UMGC grant and the 2016 Festival of Trees will provide funds to purchase the aluminum frames and flex sign faces, as well as installation. The frames could be used in the future, with a change in location or changes to the flex sign faces.

The MMCA board is working with artist Roddy Dull on building and installing the frames and reproducing the photos into 8-by-16 wraps. Dull, who’s from Boscobel, Wis., is a contributing artist at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery and is familiar with McGregor, having had a houseboat moored on the riverfront.

Regan said the MMCA board is excited about the opportunity, and hopes it will spur other projects.

“We hope to turn this into a project where other building owners come forth and volunteer their buildings for future murals,” she said. “We’d like to do more.”

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