My apologies for not posting at my usual rate this week, I have been a bit preoccupied by a few matters. One of the biggest seems to have become the mural at the Scott Street Pub.
As regular readers know, a few years ago an artist by the name of Marcus Nickel was hired by Tom Bergs to paint a mural on the wall of the second floor of the Scott Street Pub building. The upstairs room was to become another venue of the pub, either a dining room or second stage or whatever. For various reasons, the mural was completed, but the plans for the second story never came to fruition, and there the mural sat, mostly unseen, except by a few people who worked at the pub or knew someone who did.
As the Pub teetered several times on being closed and the property bought by MCDEVCO, the development arm of the county, an underground campaign was launched to see if there was some way to save the mural from the wrecking ball that almost certainly hangs over that whole block. About 6 months ago I was told of the mural and given a chance to photograph it, and the photos are here on the Flickr site of the blog. But mostly we waited to see what fate would actually bring.
But now fate has acted — along with MCDEVCO.
As most of you know, MCDEVCO has in fact bought the property and the short term plan is to raze the buildings and put up a parking lot. Well, pave one anyway. It was last week that I got the email from Dino that simply said, “Anyone want to save a mural?” And it turns out a fair number of people do.
I don’t want to start handing out public kudos yet, because the mural is not saved yet. I don’t want people to think that the people who are helping out did not do their jobs or something if the effort is ultimately unsuccessful. But I can say this.
I put out calls and emails to people I have met through doing the Wausaublog and told them the situation, and pretty much to a person, they said, “What can I do?” Mostly I didn’t know at first, but ideas went around and suddenly things started to move a bit. People started looking for technical assistance from architects and historical preservation people. People who were involved with the original project have been found. Information has been exchanged, and plans are beginning to be formulated.
We are a long way from having the mural “saved” but I think the people are in place to do so and more importantly, there is a general consensus that it should be saved. And I think that is a very good thing. It is a pretty happening city that saves a piece of its cultural heritage — and an awesomely cool city that saves that heritage even though it was the town’s best kept secret. If we can pull this off, Wausau will definitely be a cooler place.
And just for the record, here is my personsal vision of what I hope can happen. I hope that we can physically remove the mural from the Pub building and eventually put it on public display somewhere. Many ideas have been suggested to me for that, like the Pavillion in Rothschild or somewhere on Artsblock. But what I personally hope for is that the mural will be included in the plans for whatever structure goes onto that block on Scott Street. I can foresee the mural wall surrounded by some plaques that tell of the musical history of the Pub and of Wausau. It would be a great way to recognize that musical heritage and provide a nice little tourist attraction to boot.
As time goes on I am sure will be things we can all do to play our part in this. Right now I think the best thing we can do is talk up the idea so that the powers that be will see this as a worthwhile project.
In the meantime, there is one more week to go at the Pub and a lineup of “last concerts” is in the works starting at 9:30 pm tonight. Even if you have not been there often, or even if it would be your first time, come on out and fill the place up one more time. It is never too late to say “thanks” to Tom Bergs and the Pub for filling our city with music and the energy that flows from that. The venue of the Pub will be sorely missed, so come out and make sure it has a fond farewell. See you there!