Aug. 4-6, 2006 Chippewa Falls, WI

Approximately 35 signpainters visited Chippewa Falls, WI for the Chippewa Brush Bash 2, which Kurt Gaber, owner of Chippewa Falls based Gaber Signs, and Chippewa Falls Main Street Inc. co-hosted on August 4th, 5th and 6th. The meet's centerpiece focused on revitalizing a courtyard in downtown Chippewa Falls that had been a vacant lot before the city purchased the property and landscaped it and installed some brick pavers in 2005. Several man hours were spent prepping the walls from their dubious mortar spattered joints into a workable surface for the Letterheads.
To beautify the area, Gaber and his team, which included project leaders Dale Manor, owner of Studio in the Sky Mural Painting (Menomonie, WI), Mattew Rolli, operator of Adcraft Custom Signs (Hudson, WI), Mike Meyer (Mazeppa, MN) and Dave Petri from Flying Peach Signs (Green Bay, Wi) designed a theme of eight historic murals that commemorate Chippewa Falls’ history. We began with black-and-white designs for the oldest images, and then progressed to sepia tones in the imagery before progressing into color for modern depictions. Known as Harmony Courtyard, a tragic event spurred its name. Last October, on the day before a scheduled meeting with planning officials, the Chippewa Falls High School band director, his wife, granddaughter, the bus driver and a student band teacher died in a bus / semi accident. Appropriately, the Main Street Design committee chose the name unanimously, and Gaber worked with Dale Manor and developed a vibrant mural that celebrates the band’s legacy.
Several other wall projects included renditions of pictorials that featured local Chevrolet, Harley Davidson and Studebaker dealerships, as well as a mural replicating a 1916 poster of “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s visit to the Chippewa Falls fairgrounds. Steve and Dawn Lane from Toronto, Canada and Carole Bersin were the mainstays on the Buffalo Bill project. Another component of the Brush Bash’s wall projects graces a black-bear exhibit at Irvine Park. Andy and Lauri Goretski, proprietors of Custom Murals & Signs (Tomahawk, Wi) developed a faux-rock mural that adds a more natural look to the concrete wall that envelops the viewing area. The Chippewa Woolen mural and Mt. Cabin Soda murals depicted now defunt business from the early 1900's in downtown Chippewa Falls.
Several local sponsors helped with the meet by providing meals for the painters, free camping, refreshments during the mural painting and entertainment as well. The entire community was very supportive of the sign painters and the mural projects, the same as they were at the first meet held here in 2002. We had painters from Toronto, Canada, Minnesota, Iowa and from around the entire state of Wisconsin.
The meet had a very aggressive agenda, and there were a few projects left incomplete, but Dale Manor and Kurt Gaber and a few others put in some overtime and finished up the rest of the projects. A special thanks to Dale Manor for his superb talent in helping with some of the mural concepts before the meet and his hard work during and after the meet. The 2006 Brush Bash wouldn't have been a smash hit without Dale!

Kurt Gaber


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