Unique Mural Reflects Bell Bank’s Growth

There’s a unique piece of 3-D artwork in Bell Bank’s boardroom that depicts our company’s past, present and future.

Fargo artist Brad Bachmeier sculpted the mural out of clay as a large-scale tile relief installation. The 10-tile mural, installed in Bell’s Fargo headquarters, shows the bank’s beginnings – including roots in a farm near Sharon, N.D. – through our expansion into the Twin Cities. Our tree logo, which symbolizes strength and growth, stands in the center.

There are intricate details and iconic landmarks throughout the installation.

“It is a unique and beautiful mural,” says Julie Snortland, a director at the holding company level. “There are so many meaningful details.”

Julie’s husband, the late Thomas “Mickey” Snortland, was a longtime majority shareholder and director of the bank who also farmed near Sharon, N.D. That farm is represented in the bottom left corner of the mural. Before he died in early 2013, Mickey used to personally deliver rocks from his farm to the bank branches to be used in the fireplaces and other décor. He did it as a way to connect the bank with his agricultural roots. Some of those rocks are embedded in the mural.

“It just warms my heart,” Julie comments. “It represents so much of the bank’s roots and growth.”

Bell Bank opened as State Bank of Fargo in the Northport Shopping Center in north Fargo in 1966 and opened State Bank of Moorhead 30 years later. Both branches are depicted in the mural, along with our recognizable headquarters location.

Fargo-Moorhead landmarks, such as the Island Park gazebo, Trollwood Performing Arts School and Hjemkomst Center are featured on one side of the installation. The Minneapolis skyline, Bell Plaza and our Colonnade office appear on the other.

Brad Bachmeier says it was interesting to learn about Bell’s history as he worked on the installation.

“It was an absolute pleasure and honor to be trusted to work on such a significant piece for an institution that is such an integral piece and partner of the F-M community,” he remarks. “In the end, I was extremely satisfied with the result and thought that the colors, scale and detail really fit the space in an elegant and sophisticated way.”

Bev Welder, Bell’s facilities design coordinator, was the project facilitator for the mural and says she’s also extremely proud to have been trusted to help create the piece.

“I was able to collaborate with Brad Bachmeier throughout the entire process from design to installation,” Bev comments.  “It was amazing to watch Brad interpret our conversations as he fleshed out the mural, and I am so pleased with the finished piece. I feel it is a beautiful representation of the company.”

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