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Artist Emily Balsley and her mural

Essence of the Union
Madison Artist Captures the Union Through Art

Gnomes from Der Rathskeller, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, and Hoofer sailboats dance up the staircase next to Peet’s Coffee. The bold, vibrant mural is a recent addition to the art that has been an integral part of the Memorial Union since it opened in 1928. University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna and artist, Emily Balsley, embraced the tradition of immersive art at the Memorial Union with a mural capturing the essence of the Wisconsin Union. The eye-catching mural includes a Terrace-inspired color scheme with bold, black outlines and hidden Easter eggs. “There are even some nods to some of the other murals in the building and some of the history,” noted Balsley.

“It really is all Union and what the Union means.” –Artist, Emily Balsley

Emily graduated in ’01 from UW-Madison with a degree in graphic design and never thought she would end up painting a mural of her own at the Memorial Union, a place she visited often as a student. The mural-adorned stairwell leads to an outdoor seating area.