A mural with a message

Anti-pollution artwork commissioned by Ozaukee County Watershed Coalition to dress up sewer grates, street near Port Washington lakefront

WEST BEND ARTIST Maggie Kornowski began work Tuesday on a 10-foot-by-10-foot storm sewer mural (right) that will spill from the sidewalk into the street near the Heart of the Harbor plaza on East Main Street. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

If you head east on Main Street in downtown Port Washington this week, you’re likely to see a community art project in progress.

A large mural is being painted by artist Maggie Kornowski of West Bend at the two storm drains at the far east end of East Main Street, next to Heart of the Harbor.

The mural will be roughly 10 feet by 10 feet, spilling from the sidewalk into the street and over the two sewer grates.

It’s a colorful design that incorporates the waves of the lake and the fish that live there, Port’s iconic lighthouse, a pirate ship and the birds and wildlife that call the area home.

The slogan “Keep the drains clean, we all live downstream!” will frame part of the mural.

The mural was commissioned by the Ozaukee County Watershed Coalition to draw attention to the fact that anything tossed into the storm drains flows directly into Lake Michigan, polluting it, Peter Vander Velden, chairman of the mural committee, said.

“We’re hoping to motivate people to use less salt in winter. This time of year, it’s leaves and grass clippings that people blow onto the street,” he said. “You think of it as being natural, but it can lead to algae growth. If you use fertilizer, it’s going right into the lake.”

While many communities stencil messages on their storm grates asking people to watch what gets into them, the Watershed Coalition decided that an art project would draw more attention here.

The group advertised for artists and received three submissions. A committee selected the winning design.

“We really liked how she (Kornowski)incorporated a lot of specific Port things in the design — the pirate ship, lighthouse, shipwreck coast, fish,” Vander Velden said.

And since Port Main Street Inc. recently kicked off its Paint on Port project, which aims to have three to four murals painted annually over the next three years, it was the perfect time to start the project, he said.

Members of the Paint on Port committee served as judges to select the design.

“We’re happy to have it in our mix of public art,” Kristina Tadeo, executive director of Port Main Street, said. “And we’re really excited about this. They could have decided to do this in another community in Ozaukee County, but they chose Port.”

Vander Velden said the coalition is working to raise money to have the other two submitted designs painted elsewhere in the city.

The mural is expected to be completed in time for Main Street’s Festival of the Arts on June 3, Vander Velden said. Eventually, he added, they hope to expand the mural project to other county communities.

“Anything to build awareness,” Vander Velden said.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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