MANITOWOC - The banners may be down, but these murals in Manitowoc will be staying up.
The iconic Budweiser paintings on these silos received a last-minute stay of demolition. Manitowoc's mayor says after a huge community outcry, a deal has been reached to keep the mural up.
Within 48 hours of the removal of these Budweiser banners, the Manitowoc mayor's inbox was bombarded.
"I had 1,200 emails from people about a Budweiser sign," Mayor Justin Nickels chuckled. "The main concern was that it was historic. It's part of our community and when people think of Manitowoc they think of this."
Budweiser hasn't been in Manitowoc for years. Riverland Agriculture now owns the silos. It was set to sandblast the murals painted on the side on Friday.
But that's when residents stepped in. They created a Facebook page, shared images and held a candlelight vigil Sunday night.
"Personally, the vinyl that was on there I didn't really care for. But what was underneath preserved by the vinyl was a piece of pop art culture," said local artist Jason Prigge.
The mayor says he listened, and struck a deal.
"We have taken the position that the painting, the mural up there right now will stay as is. We talked to the company and they have taken the position that they will keep it," he said.
"I think it's wonderful. It's exactly what we were hoping to accomplish by doing this," said Kim Geiser, one of the organizers of the Facebook page.
Mayor Nickels says private citizens will now be responsible for the mural's upkeep. And folks say they're up for it.
"We have so many local artists who actually do murals and we have mural projects coming up next year in Manitowoc, so it's going to be a perfect fit and we're just really happy that this piece of art history will be preserved," said Geiser.
Jason Prigge is one of those local artists who plans on donating his time and skills.
"I'm sure we can get together and raise some funds to save this landmark in our community," said Prigge.
He says looks forward to preserving the iconic spot for generations to come.
The concerned citizens who started the campaign to save the Budweiser murals say they're planning on making a more permanent coalition to preserve the art in the future.
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