The Upper Dells ticket booth building on Broadway will add a splash of color from local photographer Joseph Leute.

“We just approved our first artwork for Broadway,” said Alderman Freel, chair of the River Arts District Committee, at the Wisconsin Dells Common Council meeting Jan. 15. The committee voted unanimously, Mayor Brian Landers said.

Leute’s submission was his photograph of a rock formation in the Dells with an overlay of a Native American in a canoe, Landers said. In Leute’s application, he said he will use traditional hand colored photography and digital media with the hand coloring finished by Jeanne Eberlein Burmeister.

“It captured the nature aspect of the river but also the heritage,” Landers said.

He said the decision came out of a bidding process. The application requirements included references, a rendering of what the artist would do, an estimate of how long the mural would last and the maintenance of the artwork. Leute’s proposed all-inclusive bid was $40,000.

The committee received 12 submissions and narrowed the selections down to five at a Jan. 5 meeting, according to City Clerk Nancy Holzem.

“Having a local artist for one of the first ones is great,” Landers said. “But I’m also very eager and excited we got attention nationwide to do this mural as well.”

The mural will be installed this spring, Freel said. The building the mural will be on is next to the new patio area that’s being revamped, Landers said. He said he hopes businesses will sponsor buildings, murals or stand alone art so the city can “start proving the downtown to be a river arts theme.”

In other business

  • The appointment of Patrick Gavinski as fire chief and Steve Smith as assistant fire chief was approved.
  • Troy Cross and Brenda Yaskal who are running for Branch III judge in Columbia County spoke at the meeting. This position was previously held by County Circuit Court Judge Alan White who retired in September. The primary is Feb. 20 and four candidates are running.
  • Parks and Recreation is working on the spring program guide, Alderman Jesse DeFosse said.
  • The Kilbourn Public Library’s open house is Jan. 27, Alderman Michael Freel said.
  • The plaza will be put on the agenda for the next public works meeting, Alderman Dar Mor said.

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 4:24 p.m. Jan. 17 to correct the number of submissions originally received.