WEST ALLIS — A glass of milk. A wedge of cheese. A delicious cream puff. These are just a few items visitors to Wisconsin State Fair Park’s Lower Cattle Barn will recognize this August when a new 450-square-foot mural will be finished just in time for the 2019 Wisconsin State Fair.
A team of three artists from Mixdesign of Schererville, Ind., are nearly done with the mural, depicting images of the rich diversity of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. The artists started painting two weeks ago and will have the mural completed by mid-July.
Pete Cortese, a muralist with Mixdesign, said he and his team presented three different drawings to the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board, incorporating images and items of interest to Wisconsin’s dairy industry, including several breeds of dairy cattle and dairy goats, along with numerous dairy products.
“I’ve never done one as big as this one, but I’ve done everything from underwater to space,” Cortese said. “I love animals and anything outdoors, and I’m learning more just being around the dairy stuff.”
“This mural was a fun one though because there’s so many things in it,” he added.
The mural includes 35 different items related to Wisconsin’s dairy industry, to be exact, from cows to a dairy farm with a truck hauler approaching, as well as iconic elements related to the state fair, like the Ferris wheel and big slide.
Members of the dairy promotion board, along with members of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation board, have been stopping by quite often to check in on the progress of the mural, which will be one element in Dairy Lane, a new interactive exhibit that will navigate fairgoers through places where dairy intersects with their lives.
Dairy Lane will feature signage designed to mimic street signs and places of interest, including a grocery store, cheesemaking trailer, house and farm, and feature interactive touch-screen displays, as well as live animals. The new exhibit replaces the House of Moo, and will be the most extensive enhancement to the Lower Cattle Barn in more than a decade.
The new exhibit was made possible through a $100,000 gift from the Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to providing a superior experience for Wisconsin State Fair Park visitors.
“It has been a long-term goal of the board to have a permanent place at Fair Park,” said Nicole Barlass, a member of the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. “We’re charged with educating the public on Wisconsin’s dairy industry and we see investing money into Dairy Lane as a good way to do that.”
“It’s a good fit with the Foundation’s initiatives in art and education,” added Katy Katzman, board coordinator for Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. “We’re very grateful for the Foundation’s support.”
It will also be a great addition to the state fair, which Wisconsin State Fair CEO Kathleen O’Leary called an “agricultural showcase” as well as a meeting of urban and rural.
“(The mural) just comes to life; it has vibrancy,” O’Leary said. “Just like agriculture, it tells stories and there’s so much more than some people know.”
The 168th Wisconsin State Fair is slated for Aug. 1-11 at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis. For more information on the state fair, including ticket pricing and events, visit wistatefair.com/fair/home.