One Storm Lake art lover is hoping to stir interest in a large outdoor mural project to make The City Beautiful even a little more worthy of its motto.
"I think a mural would help to beautify our community. We really don't have a lot of public art outdoors, and I miss the mural that used to be on the former Vilas building," said Joleen Dentlinger, director of the Witter Art Gallery.
The old music themed mural was removed several years ago, and the building prepped for a new diversity-themed mural sponsored by a youth council led by former mayor Sandra Madsen. The youth council later disbanded and left the downtown wall blank.
Dentlinger has taken the idea for commissioning a mural to the Chamber of Commerce, and hopes to also involve the local Arts Council.
The downtown site is one possibility for a mural, another might by on the side of the former water plant building in Sunset Park. Still other possibilities would be doing a mural almost a block in length on the back side of downtown stores in areas where they are exposed by parking areas - the JC Penney block and the Citizens Bank block.
Dentlinger contacted native Iowa artist Carl Homstad, who has created massive murals in several Iowa cities. He could be commissioned by the day, with most murals taking five to 10 days. Homstad's work has also been featured in a one-man show at the Witter.
Chamber Director Chris Nolte further suggested that a mural project could be opened up for local artists to submit ideas, proposals and bids.
"That is a possibility. We are really quite rich in arts and artists in Storm Lake, and it would be nice to show that off," Dentlinger said.
Another idea could be to hold a contest among community members to produce an idea or even a photograph that could be the theme for the mural.
If the mural were done on the lakefront, it could be based on a historical etching of the lake that was created shortly after the city was settled - or perhaps a colorful sailboat scene or a giant design of Canada geese on the lake. If the mural was located downtown, it could feature a historical scene from the early days of the city's shopping village, Dentlinger said.
"As an artist, you sometimes try to avoid doing certain types of modern scenes. With something that would last as long as a mural, it is easy to become dated if it showed certain models of cars or types of clothing on people.
"It would be important to choose a design that really says Storm Lake somehow, something that appeals to everyone," she said.
The idea is simply in the formative stages now, but anyone with ideas toward a mural project would be welcome to send them to the Witter Gallery or the Chamber of Commerce.