top of page

Inspiration Is The Soil That Brings Dreams To Life.


And inspiration is what brought a small group of Traer citizens, wanting to give back to their community, together to add something beautiful and uplifting to downtown Traer in the form of artistic murals.  


The Traer Mural Project Committee came about after noticing other communities with similar mural projects and realizing the benefit of art and creativity in a community. The Traer Mural Project Committee, comprised of Dawn Breakenridge, Michelle Podhajsky, Tracey Hulme, and Carri Holst, believes that murals will add inspiration to bare walls on Main Street buildings, appeal to all ages, be a source of pride to local residents, and a draw for visitors. We want it to be fun, interactive, inspirational, and to stir up social media “selfies”.


With the anticipation of Traer’s upcoming Sesquicentennial in 2023, the Mural Project Committee got underway 18 months ago by contacting Waverly, Iowa mural artist, Dan Hatala, who has painted wall murals in many Iowa communities. Dan was brought on board and provided us with creative, interactive, and appealing ideas for all ages. Proposed building owners were then consulted, the City Council was contacted, and grant writing was underway. 

After several meetings and rounds of proposed drawings, Dan’s ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ image met our project criteria and was selected. It gives people a sense of imagination and wonder; it conveys that we value our children; education, reading, and writing; our hometown values; and our small-town upbringing.  It shows that we are forward-thinking, willing to invest in our downtown and create thoughtful spaces to draw more folks to visit Traer. And as an added bonus, the mural will even be interactive! A step will be added to the mural to encourage people to step up and put themselves into the art for portraits and “selfies”.

Dan Hatala’s work on the mural started on September 6th so stop by and watch his progress on the library's east side. It is expected to take 2-3 weeks and we genuinely hope you like it! Follow the mural progress online at and on the Traer Sesquicentennial Facebook page at


But we’re not done yet, the Traer Mural Project Committee has raised all funds for this first mural and we plan to create a second mural on the west wall next to the library. Funding for the second mural will be secured through grants and private donations - more information coming soon on how you can donate. Our goal is to not only enhance the beauty of our community but also draw more people downtown Traer. Stay tuned for the image reveal on this second mural. Both murals will be dedicated to the community as part of the Sesquicentennial activities in 2023.


The Traer Mural Project Committee would like to thank Denny Berger (building owner), the Traer City Council, and the Traer Community Foundation for their enthusiasm, encouragement, and support of these projects.


Our second Traer mural is complete! And again, a huge THANK YOU to the artist, Dan Hatala, for yet another beautiful piece of art in downtown Traer. A poignant tribute to our local farming heritage.

"Landscape – Iowa", the farmer mural, was an inspiration to our mural artist, Dan Hatala, from the poem by James Hearst.


Hearst farmed several hundred acres west of Cedar Falls and cultivated friendships with Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. James Schell Hearst not only tilled the Black Hawk County land that was the subject of much of his poetry but worked his poems as well. More and 100 appeared as revised versions over his career of nearly 60 years. Hearst's poetry is sensitive, rich, and grounded. Come. Take a look at his fields. Come. Take a look in Traer.


Thanks goes out to the University of Northern Iowa's James Hearst Archive for granting us permission to use his poem for our project

More about the poet, James Schell Hearst here:

Traer Banner.png
bottom of page