Wausau mural now underway after 17 years of struggles Wausau 'Welcome' Mural Underway

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By:  Maria Szatkowski

A 17-year-long project is underway in Wausau's River District. The Needle and Quilting Workshop on 1st Ave is getting a mural.

In a few months, the plain wall on the side of the Needle and Quilting Workshop will have a beautiful work of art. Kari Bender has owned the building since 2000, and since then she's been trying to get a mural commissioned.

There's been ups and downs, but ultimately there hasn't been enough funding or the right artist for this project. But within the last month or so, thanks to several grants from local businesses and an artist with the perfect vision, the long-awaited mural is underway.

"The whole purpose behind the River District is just to help Wausau to look as great as it does. So the concept was basically to reinforce the feeling of our community," said Jessica Kopecky, the artist working on the mural.

The Wausau River District has pushed and worked for this mural, and they're excited to turn a plain building into 'Welcome to Wausau' art.

"I think for us it means, as an organization, this is our first organizationally sponsored mural. Like this is the first thing that we've been able to help bring together and connect, so it's really exciting that way to just finally see the fruits of all of these conversations and all of these snags come together and really be this awesome focal point as you come into Wausau," said Elizabeth Brodek, Executive Director with the Wausau River District.

Brodek, Kopecky and Bender are all thrilled to finally begin work on the art that will welcome people to the downtown area. Bender said she hopes the concept will showcase the Wausau community.

"It will be representative of Wausau, so sort of a seasonal approach in places. And perhaps a little greeting to our community, and there may be a few little hidden things in it," said Bender.

It will take Kopecky several months to complete the mural, but she said she's aware she's working to beat the upcoming winter.

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