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The 40-foot mural damaged in the Mitchell school fire is now in the hands of an expert in Chicago to determine whether or not it can be saved.

Completed in 1941, the five mural panels done by Santos Zingale under the Works Progress Administration. Zingale, hung in what was then Mitchell High School and illustrated the arrival in Racine of Gilbert Knapp. Zingale was an art professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he painted the murals during the Great Depression through the Federal Art Project.

During a 1950s remodel of the school, the mural panels were rolled up and placed in the school’s basement. After the Feb. 27 fire that destroyed the Mitchell gym, the mural was discovered in the basement damaged by the water used to fight the fire.

Whether or not the mural panels can be saved and how much that restoration might cost has yet to be determined, a story in The Journal Times reads.

Racine Unified’s Buildings and Grounds Director Bryan Arnold told the newspaper the district would explore insurance coverage and then make a decision.

“Once that is known, then the district would have to evaluate it and make a decision based on that,” he is quoted as saying.

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