Chilton History

Mural Designer/Artist

James Barany, the lead artist and designer of the mural, states the Calumet County Mural initiative displays the rich cultural heritage of Calumet County.  The murals for the City of Chilton and Stockbridge are dense with both history and art.  Each features real historical photos and events that are important to each community.   Public art can help transform the communities where it is created.  These murals are designed to promote a broader understanding of history and visual culture for each community. They reinforce the humanities and help foster self-reflection for all to engage with.  Designed to survive the harsh Wisconsin weather, the murals are painted with the highest quality UV-tolerant materials available. High quality materials, combined with proper surface preparation and sealant, help extend the life and longevity of these works for generations to come.   Murals allow Barany an unique opportunity to develop meaningful dialogue with the everyday viewer as their scale and unpretentious placement allows for participation of all in a public forum.


James Barany is a Chilton High School alumni from 1988 and worked under the leadership of both Judy and Russell Sarasin during his time in Chilton.  In 1992, Barany earned his BFA in Drawing from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and his MFA in Drawing and Painting with an additional focus in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in 1991.  Barany has been a full time member of MIAD's Foundations and First-Year Experience Department (FYE) since 2000 and has performed with the Grammy-Winning Florentine Opera Company since 2005.


 City of Chiton Mural - Located 40 West Main Street

The first residents of Chilton, Wisconsin were a former African American slave and a Native American princess. James Barany returned to Chilton to pay homage to those founders with a mural.  The mural takes us through the history of Chilton, starting with Catherine Stanton, the Native American princess who founded the town.  She the matriarch of our town,  Barany explained. "She was critical because she was a conduit between the Ho Chunk and the Menominee who were living here and the massive wave of Europeans that were coming after. She helped settle the entire community."  The grist mill, built by the Stanton family, is also featured on the mural along with a nod to agriculture and a salute to service. General Harrison Hobart and Commander George Breed are the other two main figures displayed on the wall. Behind them, you'll see dozens of other local veterans who survived the Civil War.  Other notable images include the old Hotel Chilton, St. Mary's Parish and the former State Street Bridge.


In order to complete this mural, it took an estimated 1,500 hours of work from start to finish, that includes researching, designing and painting the mural in five layers.  This magnificent piece of art wouldn't have been possible without the more than $40,000 in grants awarded by the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Calumet County Historical Society, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region's Bright Idea Fund and the Chilton Area Community Foundation.


Photo Album of Chilton Mural