Art from around the Valley: Jen Salt’s ‘Frank’s Hill’

Painting via Jen Salt

I first climbed Frank’s Hill in Richland County a dozen years ago for the Vernal Equinox celebration. A large group had gathered at the top of the hill near the effigy mounds, along with some of the elders and Frank Shadewald, to watch the sun set, the moon rise and the stars come into view.

A bonfire was built as people scattered to admire the beautiful land… slowly, we all were drawn back to watch the sparks drift down the valley, quietly, respectfully. Frank talked about the indigenous people who were there 1,000 years ago and the elders shared their words and blessings to the land.

I felt a sense of honor to be there that night and feel that same feeling everytime I return. There’s an energy that can’t be described. Spring Green’s Timm Zumm also commented that one can definitely feel the spirit of the land when walking the mounds. Frank’s Hill, known as the Shadewald Mounds Group is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is cared for through the Three Eagles Foundation, based in Muscoda, since Frank’s passing in 2013.

The public is welcome to visit, respectfully and hopefully we’ll all be able to celebrate the Vernal Equinox come September, then the Winter Solstice in December. From Highway 60 west turn onto Highway 193 where you’ll see the 12 conical mounds on the left and the stands of prairie grasses of the effigies on the right. The oil painting pictured here is 18”x24” in size and shows the conical mounds from the bluff facing west.

Jen Salt, Contributor

Jen Salt is an artist who lives in a place she calls “Crow’s Lair Cottage” – just outside of Spring Green where she’s lived for five and a half years. “The Wisconsin River was the draw to move here and I’ve never looked back, coming from a big city. This is home.”