The HBC Fence Project:
A History of Communication

Photos of July 18 Capstone Event courtesy of Anna VanDemark.

The HBC Fence Project: A History of Communication has been a public art collaboration between HBC, the City of Winona, and River Arts Alliance for the past several years. On Thursday, July 18, 2019, members of the three organizations celebrated the completion of this project at its location at Levee Park, along the north side of HBC headquarters.

Several years ago local artists Julia Crozier and the late Bernadette Mahfood approached Gary Evans at HBC with an idea to liven up the bland fence at the entrance to Levee Park on Main Street. Their idea was to depict a history of communication with murals, mosaic columns, and whimsical images of flowers, animals and water, thereby connecting history and a major Winona business with one of the world’s most iconic rivers and the beauty of bluff country. For several years, Julia Crozier invited community members to help paint the background murals for each phase. She then outlined images of the various kinds of communication, such as a person calling out, sign language, smoke signals — even the hieroglyphs from the La Moille caves. Each mural depicts the evolution of the ways we communicate and connect with one another. The work is celebratory, whimsical, and bursting with color!

Many thanks to Julia Crozier who led this project, artists Ibrahim Butler and Monta May, HBC CEO’s Gary Evans and Dan Pecarina, City Administrators Chad Ubl and Steve Sarvi, as well as Wenonah Canoe and Fastenal for materials, and the city workers who helped with the installation. This was a unique collaboration that produced a vibrant public art monument!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund as well as the River Arts Alliance..