Mural painter gets off to quick start

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Artist Chuck Bennis spray paints the outline of the new mural on the 1st North Street side of the Nuvera building. The outline is the result of a 12-hour paint session starting Saturday evening.

NEW ULM — For anyone who noticed the mural work on the side of the Nuvera building Sunday, you were not imagining things, it did spring up overnight.

Artist Chuck Bennis of Brookings, South Dakota put in an all-night paint session to jumpstart the mural project.

The mural was a project spearheaded by the New Ulm Downtown Action Team. The mural was funded by the Economic Development Authority (EDA), Convention & Vistors Bureau, New Ulm Area Foundation and Heart of New Ulm. Nuvera approved using its building for the mural.

The teams have worked on the mural project for nearly two years. In June 2021, the team began seeking proposals from artists on possible designs. The Downtown Action Team was able to narrow down the design to one proposal that was submitted by Bennis. The Heritage Preservation Commission formally accepted the design last week.

Bennis was scheduled to begin working on the mural this week with a plan to be finished in two weeks but over the weekend he made significant headway.

He started working Friday, applying primer to the wall. On Saturday he added a second coat and at 7 p.m. Bennis began to outline. Using a projector, he was able to trace the images on the wall, Bennis worked all through the night — 12 hours straight — until 7 a.m.

He returned Sunday afternoon to mark to continue working. Bennis said the mural is still a work in progress. Several sections need to be painted before he is finished.

“Where you see squiggly lines are the places I still need to fill in,” he said.

Sunday afternoon Bennis could only paint so much with strong winds. Weather is the main factor in his timeline for finishing the mural. If the temperature drops too low, paint is harder to apply and takes longer to dry.

Bennis is fairly confident the mural will be finished before Oktoberfest.


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