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A mural painted by Santos Zingale that had been damaged during a fire at Mitchell Elementary School in February is being restored by the Conservation Center of Chicago.

The fire broke out early Feb. 27 and destroyed the gym. Smoke and water from fighting the fire caused much of the elementary school damage, including the murals.

Completed in 1941, the five mural panels were painted by Zingale under the Works Progress Administration. The paintings hung in what was then Mitchell High School and they 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 fire destroyed the Mitchell gym, the murals were discovered in the basement damaged by the water used to fight the fire.

The Conservation Center predicts the restoration effort will take nine to 12 months to complete, according officials with the Racine Unified School District.

For more information on the mural and the restoration efforts, visit The Conservation Center’s webpage.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.