Science-themed artwork to be unveiled Oct. 15 at Sturgeon Bay City Hall

Mural on display until October 2023. Celebrates 50 years of Sea Grant.

(Watch a video preview about the artwork here)

To mark its 50th anniversary year, Wisconsin Sea Grant is celebrating in a unique way: with a work of public art to be unveiled at Sturgeon Bay City Hall, 421 Michigan St., on Saturday, Oct. 15. The public is invited to join the festivities by attending an outdoor reception at 11:30 a.m. The event will be a “meet and greet” with the artists. City officials, including Mayor David J. Ward, will also make remarks. Light refreshments like cookies and hot cider will be served.

The hand of one of the artists at work is shown here. The public is invited to the see the completed artwork and meet the artists at a reception outside Sturgeon Bay City Hall on Oct. 15. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

Wisconsin Sea Grant is headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has field offices in several communities around the state: Green Bay, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Kenosha County and Superior. The organization promotes the sustainable use of Great Lakes resources through research, education and outreach. It is part of a national network of 34 Sea Grant programs in coastal and Great Lakes states.

Said Jim Hurley, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s director, “We are so excited to be celebrating this milestone. Because our work benefits the Great Lakes and coastal communities, we wanted to do something special in a place like Sturgeon Bay. We’ve partnered with the city on a science-themed artwork that we hope inspires residents and visitors alike to learn more about Lake Michigan and its ecosystem.”

The artwork to be unveiled on the exterior of City Hall was created by three artists: Don Krumpos, Erin LaBonte and Jody Henseler. Krumpos and LaBonte operate Yonder Studios, an art gallery and event space in downtown Algoma. Henseler teaches science in the Manitowoc Public Schools.

Artists at work on the mural in late August 2022. In the foreground, artist/science teacher Jody Henseler examines water samples collected that morning from Lake Michigan, just blocks away from the Algoma studio of Don Krumpos and Erin LaBonte. (Photo: Jennifer Smith)

Henseler described group’s concept: “The goal of our mural is to highlight species native to our great Lake Michigan. Many people are familiar with the prehistoric lake sturgeon, walleye, whitefish and bass, but what about psychedelic-looking algaes like diploneis, stephanodiscus and tabellaria? These are the lake’s unsung heroes and the base of our food chain. They need to be celebrated, known and understood so that we humans can work to keep our waters clean and these microorganisms thriving.”

The mural’s design also highlights human uses of the lake, situating our human world within this larger ecological context, where there is much more to life in the lake than what meets the naked eye. The work will remain on City Hall for at least a year.

At the Oct. 15 celebration, speakers in addition to the mayor and the artists will include Sturgeon Bay Dist. 1 Alder Helen Bacon, who also chairs the city’s arts board. Bacon was instrumental in working with Sea Grant on the project.

Local artists and gallery owners Stephanie Trenchard and Margaret Lockwood also played vital roles in the process.

For more information, contact Jennifer Smith, Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator, at 608-262-6393 or