Windbigler’s art enhances apartment complex basement
Jacquelyn Smith Windbigler has added an artistic flare to the atmosphere of the Historic Fox River Mills Apartments. Rather than capturing the Fox River in a painting, Windbigler created a detailed relief mural in the Appleton complex’s basement community space.
“The relief downstairs is actually just something that was an opportunity within another opportunity and it just sort of came together collectively. The mills provide a wonderful palette,” says Windbigler.
The mural was created over a span of about four weeks and completed in November.
“(The Fox River Mills are) so inviting and the atmosphere and the crew were just fabulous. The crew would offer, ‘can’t we put some music on,’ and they were just so accommodating,” says Windbigler. The crew and maintenance members helped with the “accessory parts, painting the floors and walls, and creating the lighting.”
“We are from northern Indiana; however, my husband’s work has kept us moving around the country for a long time,” says Windbigler.
While she has lived in Appleton for the past year, her experience living in different locations has affected her artwork and the types of mediums that she uses.
“Moving around the county has actually broadened my vision about the different arts. The possibilities are just completely endless,” says Windbigler. “I started with drawing portraits and training the eye, studying library books in the arts or going to museums in Chicago or in Georgia, or wherever.”
The curiosity of how a piece of artwork was created motivates Windbigler to start a new project.
“(I) wonder, ʻhow did they do that,ʼ and that question has always underlined the next project. Design is not always painting a picture or coming up with something out of your imagination,” says Windbigler. “A lot of time, it is working with the elements that are currently there and then melding them together to get a cohesive look.”
For Windbigler, art has predominantly been a hobby since she was young, but she also has worked on projects across the country.
“I have worked in many design centers in the states, and that has been very fulfilling. If I were to say that it’s more than a hobby, I probably could, because I have worked for people in the way of interior design,” says Windbigler. “As far as where it will go from here, I imagine it will just be freelance because the big pieces that I have done up to this point have been from my own heart’s desire.”
“The Lerner is a magnificent theater in Elkhart, Ind., and they just did a big renovation there and it was exciting to be a part of that,” says Windbigler. “One (piece) was just (created for) a fundraiser, a large elk. Another was a contribution of a painting of my daughter. We called it, “Meg and Ebby,” because she was holding our cat.”
Next time you find yourself near downtown Appleton, take a trip down to the Historic Fox River Mills to view the beautiful relief of the Fox River. If you would like to learn more about the piece created by Windbigler, contact [email protected].
— By Jessica Morgan