The Somsen Hall Mural was designed and executed by John Martin Socha (1913-1983). It was one of the largest of the New Deal (1935-1943) Federal Art Projects in Minnesota. The mural was dedicated to Winona State Teachers College on November 7, 1938.
Somsen Hall is located on the Winona State University (WSU) campus in Winona, Minnesota. The mural is displayed on the east, north, and west walls of the north main entrance to Somsen Hall.
WSU has acknowledged that Socha relied on stereotypical imagery and white myths, which convey inaccurate, uninformed, and traumatic messages. In 2018, WSU commissioned two scholars, Iyekiyapiwin Darlene St. Clair and Jill Ahlberg Yohe, to create a document to provide context with commentary as a reminder that the responsibility of an institution of higher education is to examine history and learn from it to improve the future. Their document is available here: Somsen Hall Mural Context: The Founding of Winona and the Somsen Hall WPA Mural
In 2020, WSU made the decision to cover the Somsen Hall Mural. It was covered in August 2020.