Organ Transplant: Eaux Claires sculpture will be installed in EC park

Hannah Mumm, photos by Lee Butterworth

IF IT AIN’T BAROQUE ... Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi created Baroque – a towering wire mesh sculpture reminiscent of a cathedral – for the 2016 Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival.
IF IT AIN’T BAROQUE ... Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi created Baroque – a towering wire mesh sculpture reminiscent of a cathedral – for the 2016 Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival.

If you stopped by the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival last summer, you might have noticed the wire cathedral complete with dramatic arches and false pipes housing organ performances between sets. The small venue was actually a massive sculpture, Baroque, crafted by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi.

Baroque was created exclusively for Eaux Claires, so when the festival ended, it faced a dilemma: move or be destroyed. Thanks to a team of Eau Claire creatives and professionals, the sculpture was donated to the community.

Time-sensitive removal from the festival grounds left Visit Eau Claire officials with 6,400 cubic feet of wire mesh and no place to put it. The City of Eau Claire generously donated space in its Forest Street maintenance facility, and the sculpture was quickly disassembled, shrink-wrapped, and trucked to its temporary home. Visit Eau Claire Executive Director Linda John searched tirelessly for installation location, exploring public parkland for a functional, central space.

Finding adequate urban space for a sculpture bigger than some homes is a daunting task, especially when that sculpture doubles as a performance venue. Baroque isn’t just a sculpture, it’s also a stage. Part of the initiative to keep it in the community is its potential draw for local arts enthusiasts and tourists.

“While Baroque will be a great asset for the culture of Eau Claire over the next several years, it will also have strong tourism potential as we work to program Baroque in connection to key community events,” John said.

Baroque required room for an audience, and – after several months – John discovered the perfect place.

Across the street from the Grand Theatre and just steps away from popular eateries such as the Grand Avenue Café and the Court’n House, a flat grassy expanse lies on the bank of the Chippewa River. Baroque will be nestled between the bike trail and tree line, leaving three fourths of the rectangular space open for spectators. On May 20, Tresoldi and his team will fly in from Italy to begin a nine-day rebuild. 

Without the generosity of businesses and individuals across the community, Baroque would have remained forever homeless. Of the project’s $40,000 budget, $25,000 came in a grant from Visit Eau Claire’s Destination Development Project. Materials and labor were donated by Market & Johnson, The Lismore will host Tresoldi and his crew, and artists from UW-Eau Claire and Eaux Claires will oversee project management.

Once installed, the plan is to host intimate concerts and other key community events on the Baroque stage, and a piano may be placed within the sculpture for spontaneous performances. Before a show, visitors can explore the Grand Avenue Business Improvement District, a lesser known – but exceptionally intriguing – part of downtown.

“The visual appeal – along with the story of Baroque’s journey to Eau Claire – will generate travel media interest and attract new visitors to the community to see and experience it,” John said.

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