Silver Lake art instructors create mural in Newton

By Special to The Compass | July 3, 2014

NEWTON — A once-gray exterior wall at Newton Meats has been brought to life thanks to the artistic vision of the store’s owner and the talents of two art professors at Silver Lake College.

Shown in front of a newly painted four-panel mural at Newton Meats in Newton are Sr. Mariella Erdmann, left, a professor in the Silver Lake College Art Department in Manitowoc; Karean VanEss, owner of Newton Meats; and Erin LaBonte, an art department assistant professor. (Special to The Compass)
Shown in front of a newly painted four-panel mural at Newton Meats in Newton are Sr. Mariella Erdmann, left, a professor in the Silver Lake College Art Department in Manitowoc; Karean VanEss, owner of Newton Meats; and Erin LaBonte, an art department assistant professor. (Special to The Compass)

On June 16, Sr. Mariella Erdmann, professor, and Erin LaBonte, assistant professor, completed the mural. It features four panels, each illustrating a country theme. Each panel is about 10 feet high and 12 feet wide.

Karean VanEss, owner of Newton Meats and a recent recipient of The Compass’ “Faith That Works” award, said she was inspired to see a mural painted on the wall after noticing similar artistic endeavors in Honduras, where she volunteered on mission trips.

VanEss asked Kryssa Luckow, a fellow parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Newton, if she knew anyone who’d be willing to help. Kryssa, a Silver Lake College student, notified SLC Art Department personnel.

It took LaBonte and Sr. Mariella about 35 hours each to complete the mural.

“It’s just beautiful,” VanEss said. “It’s everything I hoped it would be.”

LaBonte said she was happy to get a chance to paint outdoors with Sr. Mariella. It was their second joint mural — they also teamed up to paint a mural that’s on display at the Rogers Street Fishing Village museum in Two Rivers.

“I am really excited that business owners and community members … are reaching out to artists and realizing how art can change, revitalize and even inspire a community,” LaBonte said.

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