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Markson: Stroke by stroke, he keeps leaving his mark on River Falls

The dark squares on the back of Riverwalk Art and Antiques are part of the framework for what will become David Markson’s latest addition to the mural on the Riverwalk Art and Antiques building. Markson said when he paints murals, he starts with a dark background, and adds lighter colors to it. (River Falls Journal photos by Gretta Stark)1 / 2
David Markson2 / 2

David Markson had wanted to paint a mural on the wall of what was then Ben Franklin store -- now Riverwalk Art and Antiques, 127 N. Main St. -- since he came to River Falls in 1977.

He finally got his chance in 1996. But that mural was half-painted over several years ago.

Last year, Markson got to reclaim that mural, painting an abstract version of the fish that was the only remaining portion of his 1996 mural.

“I realize murals don’t last forever. Either they start to need too much maintenance or the building owner has a new idea, and they go away,” Markson said. “But to have that mural sit for five, six years, half-painted out and half not painted out, it kind of was a thorn in my side, and I’m glad to have been able to re-do it.”

This year, Markson takes the mural further -- around the back of the store, to grace Riverwalk.

It will show a map of the Kinnickinnic, surrounded by seven scenes of fun activities and beautiful or well-known sights along the river.

The city’s Business Improvement District (BID) board is supporting Markson’s artistic efforts. Last year it commissioned Markson to rework the 1996 mural.

While he’s mostly gotten positive feedback about the redone portion of the mural he painted last year, he said some people didn’t like the abstract fish.

“I think pretty much everybody’s going to connect with this back wall,” Markson said. “When I presented to the BID board, people were really excited.”

Markson said the new mural will show a map of the Kinnickinnic, surrounded by seven scenes depicting the ways people use the Kinni -- either recreational locations, or just beautiful natural “gems,” as Markson put it.

He said some scenes he’d like to paint include the Swinging Bridge, Art on the Kinni, a fisherman’s access area, the dams, and a grotto in Kinnickinnic State Park known as Devil’s Punchbowl.

However, Markson is also open to suggestions. These can be dropped off at the Chamber of Commerce office, 214 N. Main St.

For the rest of the story, see the July 31 print issue of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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