Driving through the small town of New London, the first thing to catch your eye might be the beauty of the Wolf River… but soon you’ll get a glimpse of something here… catch a burst of color there.
“We put 63 pieces of art in this town last summer,” said Priscilla Wright, New London.
What you’re seeing is the Wolf River Mural Project, the brainchild of Season Polsin.
“I had an inspirational moment and I decided I was going to do something about it,” said Season Polsin. Polsin is one of four nominees for WFRV’s Remarkable Women series.
Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.
WFRV will celebrate local women who inspire, lead and forge the way for other women. It’s not just about one day or one month — it’s about what they do, day-in and day-out.
In February and March, we’ll highlight four local women who will be considered for Nexstar’s nationwide 2021 Woman of the Year Award. Polsin is one of those women.
Driven by hometown pride… “Because I love it here and I wanted it better for my kids, family and community,” Polsin explained.
And a personal passion…”I’ve just always loved art,” she said.
Polsin joined forces with the Wolf River Arts League to create Start Art.
“She had a vision. She had a dream. She wanted to make her hometown nicer to look at,” explained Wright, who nominated her best friend, Season, as a Remarkable Woman who should be recognized.
That initial vision bloomed into a two-year-long civic beautification endeavor…
“I came up with a bunch of artists that gave of their time, so that’s even better,” Polsin said.
Culminating in close to one hundred original, hand-painted murals interspersed throughout the community.
“She organized all of it,” said Wright of Polsin. “She made sure people had ladders, the paint they needed, as well as painted a couple herself.”
A brick wall in downtown New London was the inspiration for Season’s vision. Each square was sold to be painted for a fundraiser. If you look closely, you’ll notice each square contains a heart representing love for the community. Not only did the painted wall raise a lot of money, it raised a great deal of community pride.
“It’s local, so everybody gives and loves where we are and so we painted the city,” Polsin said.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly good,” added Wright.
Quite an accomplishment, for this mother of six.
“I have three kids, my husband has two, plus an extra,” Polsin said, with a sly smile.
Yes, six children.
“Everybody makes a full house,” Polsin said.
“Everybody” includes one family member Polsin lovingly refers to as “an extra.”
“She’s part of my family,” explained Polsin.
And that, is the second part of Polsin’s inspiring story
“She asked that I would always keep Bailey a part of my life,” Polsin remembered.
Not just a request from a friend.
“Her (Bailey) mother got brain cancer and died when she was very young,” Wright explained.
A mother’s dying wish for her little girl.
“Season took that little girl in like she was her own,” said Wright.
Polsin kept her promise.
“I’m really proud to say she was my mom growing up,” said Bailey Harmelink, now 20.
That little girl is now a college sophomore, studying medicine.
“I’m going to UW Milwaukee,” Harmelink said. “I’m doing nursing and want to specialize in ob-gyn, which was also inspired by Season.”
When asked what she’d want Season to know about the impact she’s had on her life, Harmelink didn’t hesitate.
“I love her with all my heart and I don’t know where I’d be without her,” shared Harmelink.
Polsin never stopped to count the endless hours she put into beautifying a city or the time spent nurturing a young soul.
“I think any time you put love into something, you don’t need to keep track of time,” Polsin said humbly.
But those around her did and they say they’ve watched this “Remarkable Woman” in amazement.
“I thought she deserved some recognition,” Wright said, as the tears finally spilled over.