Hidden in the walls: Construction reveals former Florence student’s artwork

Florence High School students Kaden Schuls, left, and Taylor Schuls show a drawing done by their father, James, a 1994 FHS graduate. The lost drawing was recently discovered during a renovation of the school.

FLORENCE, Wis. — Workers from Miron Construction recently came across a student artwork hidden for more than two decades in the walls behind old lockers being removed as part of the Florence County School renovation.

It was a drawing Class of 1994 graduate James Schuls had done as a junior. Presented with the recovered piece, Schuls was speechless.

It was something he had created on his own time and was of value to him.

“I always wondered where this picture went. It’s almost like my own found time capsule,” Schuls said.

The drawing shows profiles of an Indian man and woman, plus a collage of other images that include a heron, bear, buffalo, raccoon, eagle, drum, a detailed smoking pipe, feathers, bear paw prints and an oar. The backdrop is a landscape of pine trees and mountains.

Schuls said the drawing helped him escape after losing his father that previous summer.

He remembered watching his father and uncle draw when he was a young boy, and that spurred him to create his own artwork.

“As a young boy, people also always told me that I had Indian-like features, and my grandmother once said that Buffalo Bill Cody was a part of our family tree; this also motivated me to draw these images.”

Schuls’ daughter, now a junior at Florence High School and art student in Erica Land’s class, was impressed by her dad’s artistic talents.

“When I look now at my drawing, I see that the image of the woman resembles an older version of my daughter, Taylor,” Schuls said.

The drawing will be framed and displayed at the school when renovations are completed. In addition to Taylor, a junior at FHS, Schuls and his wife, Stephanie, have children Kaden, a sophomore; sixth-grader Logan; and fifth-grader Michael.