Wild Art

students create mural at Irvine Park tiger exhibit

Haley Wright

Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls
Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls

The tiger exhibit at the Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls, which was built in 2008 in plain concrete and remains in plain concrete, is about to get a makeover courtesy of some Chippewa Falls Middle School students. The Voyagers After School Program – which offers enrichment programming as well as assistance with homework (math in particular) to middle school-aged kids – approached the Chippewa Falls Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department about completing a mural on the exterior of the tiger exhibit at Irvine Park Zoo.

Previously, Voyagers students had helped repaint the mural on Wagner Street in Chippewa Falls, according to Doug Ellis, the program’s coordinator. The Voyagers are with artist Jean Arneson, who they also worked with on the Wagner Street mural. Arneson will be creating the design on the exhibit, and students will be filling it in with paint.

Work on the exhibit has already begun. Arneson created a grid on the wall and drew out the design, and United Way Day of Caring Volunteers painted the higher parts of the wall (because Voyager students won’t be using ladders). “The subject matter chosen was a theme that would fit for any of the animals, consistent with that of the park’s natural beauty; the trees, rocks, plants, waterfalls, creeks, etc.,” Arneson explained. “We are using Benjamin Moore latex paint from Korgers, and it will be very colorful and a beautiful surrounding for the tigers which are currently in the area we are painting.”

Ellis, the group’s coordinator, said the project “is a wonderful opportunity for the community to see our youth volunteering their time to make a difference.” 

“Irvine Park staff, volunteers, and visitors will see firsthand the work of our students and community members,” he said. “This will brighten up the wall of the cat exhibit and will be enjoyed by visitors from all areas of the country.” The mural is expected to be finished by mid-November.