Mural painting completed in Center for Rural History

Schumacher Farm Park mural depicts agricultural heritage

   May 19, 2022 / Updated May 26, 2022

Friends of Schumacher Farm Park Board member Susan Manske talks to the crowd gathered for the mural dedication May 16.

The Friends of Schumacher Farm County Park dedicated a mural created by Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA) in the park’s Center for Rural History Monday, one that represents the area’s rural heritage.

Susan Manske, Friends board member, said the mural will be used to educate school groups when they visit the park, with a key created by fellow board member Rosa Ropers highlighting different butterflies, seasons and information about farm life in the 1920s and ‘30s.

That’s when Marcella Pendall Schumacher was growing up on her family’s farm. She later donated the farmstead to Dane County to preserve it and teach others about farm life.

Waunakee Village Administrator Todd Schmidt congratulated all involved in the mural, saying it took him back to scenes of rural Elkhorn, Wisconsin, his hometown. It also brought back the time spent with his daughter as they acted as “chicken wranglers,” feeding the hens and roosters during summers.

“On behalf of the village board, we compliment and thank you for your amazing work,” he told the Friends group, before thanking DAMA for the opportunity to work with the arts organization.

DAMA also completed the mural on Main Street, on the Waunakee Furniture ETC building. The arts organization involves students in the work, offering them an opportunity to paint sections of the murals. Other DAMA projects have been completed around storm drains to educate the community about environmental hazards. Alicia Rheal is the mural production director at Dane Arts Mural Arts who creates the large-scale paintings.

Julie Gross, Waunakee High School art teacher, talked about her students’ participation. They were given the opportunity to volunteer with the project and enjoyed it, she said. The DAMA staff gave them the “confidence to just dig in,” Gross added.

Mark Pelton, president of the Friends of Schumacher Farm, recalled Pendall Schumacher’s book, “Mama, Papa and Me,” saying it describes how neighbors helped neighbors on farms during the ‘20s and ‘30s just to survive. Many different community members also worked together to see the Center for Rural History project to fruition, and it is now used by many groups. Pelton thanked all in attendance for their support.

This article has been modified to include the DAMA artist's name.