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Larger than-life mural of Chief Black Hawk poised to transform downtown Janesville

Larger than-life mural of Chief Black Hawk poised to transform downtown Janesville

JANESVILLE, Wis. - Nationally renowned artist Jeff Henriquez is working to create a mural of Chief Black Hawk near Main Street in Janesville. 

Henriquez, who has worked to create other murals across the United States, was contracted by Nigella Ryan and several other Janesville residents to do the piece. 

"I had never been to Janesville," he said. "I just knew it was far."

Henriquez said he began to do research on the mural's subject, Chief Black Hawk, who was a leader of the Sauk Indian Tribe and one of the key players of the War of 1812.

"I did a lot of different references, facial references, portrait references," he said. "I read like the Cliffs Notes of the story. I’m surprised there aren’t like statues of him around, like big bronze, gnarly ones."

Those who work downtown say they're excited to see the project take shape. 

"I think it is so exciting," said Angela Cossas, manager of 29 South Cafe. "It's going to be beautiful. The colors are going to be bright, not to mention Black Hawk has got history here in Janesville,"

The mural will take a week or more to complete, weather permitting. Following its completion, the city of Janesville said local leaders of Native American tribes will honor it in a celebration. 

"I feel like I'm doing a service, an actual service," Henriquez said. "Projects like this, they take on a different meaning because of the nature of the subject."

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