Northwest Iowans Invited To Help Paint Alton Luxembourgish Mural

Alton, Iowa — One of Alton’s walls is about to become much more beautiful — and much more informative about the Luxembourgish history of the town.

Judy Stokesberry with the Luxembourg Heritage Society of Northwest Iowa is one of the people helping to make it happen. She tells us how this all started.

(as said:) “It began as a part of our Lux Fest, which is a celebration of the arrival of the first Luxembourgers in northwest Iowa. And they arrived around Alton in 1870. And so this year is the hundred and fiftieth anniversary. And we started out by saying, ‘oh we should have a parade,’ and then, ‘well, maybe we should have a genealogical display’ and it built from there. One of our members has a daughter who is a professor at the University of South Dakota and Vermillion and she’s a painting professor and one of her specialties is doing community art and doing community murals. She’s also a dual citizen of Luxembourg. And so it just all kind of started to balloon from there. She designed a mural for us that will commemorate some of the special things that happened as Luxembourgers moved into the area. And as other people moved into the area and then kind of history of the community.”

She tells us about the community mural concept.

(as said:) “They attempt to involve the members of the community. They try to get their ideas. And then also they try to get them to commit to it by helping to paint. And we’ve contacted a lot of the people in the area… art teachers in the area, members of our society, just members of the community… anybody that’s interested is welcomed to come and help paint.”

Because of social distancing, Stokesberry is asking people to call or email her if they would like to paint. The painting will be in the morning and evening of the next several days.

The mural will be painted on the wall of the L & M Enterprises building at 1002 Third Avenue in Alton. Stokesberry gives us a preview of what the mural will look like.

(as said:) “It has a background of the state of Iowa because the settlers that we’re commemorating started in St. Donatus, Iowa …which is over right south of Dubuque… and came across Iowa in ox-drawn wagons. And like I said, settled around Alton. On the right-hand side there are going to be a lot of symbols of the country of Luxembourg, which is where most of the settlers originated before they came to St. Donatus. And on the left-hand side are some corresponding symbols of Iowa. For example, the flower of Luxembourg is the rose and the flower of Iowa is the prairie rose. State birds are similar, you know, there are a lot of comparisons between that. And then to incorporate other things, she has some big, big butterflies and on the wings of the butterflies will be sketches of things that happened in Alton and in northwest Iowa.. like people farming… anything that people think is representative of their life and our lives now in this area.”

Artists and others who would like to participate in painting the mural can call 712-786-2754 or email to schedule a work time.

Photo caption: Reed Plathe primes the Lux mural wall in Alton



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