Salas creating mural in downtown Ripon

A mural project in downtown Ripon, designed to create a sense of community while also reflecting on recent events, is scheduled to begin May 13. Rafael Francisco Salas, associate professor of art at Ripon College, created and will paint the artwork.

The mural will be painted on the south wall of 214 Watson St., owned by Farrell’s Fine Furnishings. Work will proceed throughout the summer and is scheduled to be completed by the time Ripon College classes begin in the fall.

View photographs of the mural’s progress throughout the summer by clicking below.

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“The inspiration to create this artwork began in response to recent events in downtown Ripon,” Salas says. “I am referring most significantly to the Watson Street fire on Dec. 11, 2013, and the destructive outcome of the Boca Grande development project. This mural will remind us of the proud heritage we share but also of the trials we encounter.


“The artwork will describe a sense of elevation, lifting and transcendence in the face of conflict. It portrays the original Long House, built to create a communal society of Utopian ideals on the Wisconsin prairie. The optimism that originally inspired the creation of Ripon itself is reflected in the visual placement and monumental height of the mural. However, though the image evokes a sense of nobility, it also illuminates a contrast to that aspiration in the supports and buttresses that shore it up.

“My goal is that viewers will find inspiration in this artwork, but will also acknowledge the troubles we have had and challenges that we face in our community. I designed this mural for the Ripon community and for Ripon College together. We share the same legacy and must move forward together, as well.” Salas grew up in Ripon and returned to teach at Ripon College in 2006.

The project is supported by a $1,400 Fourteen for ’14 grant by the Office of the President of Ripon College, presented to projects that will enhance the Ripon College campus community.

To learn more about Rafael Salas and his work visit

To learn more about the Art Department at Ripon college, click here.


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