Past winners have come from all over the state, including Menomonie, Hudson, and Rice Lake, but not Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls (hint hint).
There’s growing recognition in the Chippewa Valley and elsewhere that the arts can be key to invigorating our communities. Now in their sixth year, the Arts in the Community Awards were created to recognize elected officials and other local leaders around Wisconsin “who champion innovative arts, arts education and/or creative economy programs, projects and opportunities in their communities.” The awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, are given annually to two individuals, one from a community larger than 20,000, one from a community smaller than 20,000. Past winners have come from all over the state, including Menomonie, Hudson, and Rice Lake, but not Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls (hint hint). According to Arts Wisconsin, “Nominees and their model programs or projects should demonstrate leadership through creative approaches to integrating the arts with civic strategies and have broad and diverse community support.” If this sounds like someone you know, the deadline is fast approaching: Nominations are due via email by 5pm Wednesday, Aug. 13. To learn more, visit www.artswisconsin.org or contact Anne Katz, executive director of Arts Wisconsin, at (608) 255-8316 or email@example.com.
Creating the “world’s largest” of something may seem a daunting task, but that didn’t deter these Wisconsinites. From beer to logs, our state can boast the largest ever known! Or at least, no one has claimed otherwise!
La Crosse - Composed of six storage tanks for City Brewery (owned by the city of La Crosse), these cans not only have the look but are actually filled with beer. People who are faithful to this landmark will tell you that the new vinyl coverings are nothing compared to the original paint job. But hey, a ridiculously huge six pack is a ridiculously huge six pack, folks.
Birnamwood - Where better to have the world’s largest badger than in the Badger State? Grinning merrily with his clawed hands in the air, this badger was once atop a gas station, but after changing hands, now sits in front of a ... gentlemen’s club.
Glidden - Weighing around 3.5 tons (or 7000 pounds), this is a log worthy of its own shelter. Cut by local lumbermen, the tree itself was estimated to be between 450-500 years old. You know what else was happening back then? History.
Woodruff - In homage to a penny drive for a local hospital, the world’s largest penny was erected and has been a photo op ever since. It isn’t the most faithful rendition: it’s not made of copper, there’s nothing on the back and to be honest ... the front isn’t all that and a bag of chips either.
Sparta -If you’re in the area, you’ve got to ask about Ben Bikin. He’s a jolly fellow who likes to ride ol' timey bikes, and tell you about Sparta. Worried you might miss him? You can’t. He’s a 32 foot tall sculpture fixed to a speaker box.
Monico - Now this “world’s largest” took some serious skill, time and determination. A humble Wisconsin man took it upon himself to design and build his own planetarium in his backyard. Still not all that impressed? He painted 5,000 stars in their precise location and with their specified luminosity. Good job Frank Kovac.
Woo! From The Leader-Telegram (7-24-14): "The sculpture, titled “All in the Same Boat,” was recovered shortly after noon today [July 24] in downtown Eau Claire. ... The sculpture was found undamaged. It is being stored at the Eau Claire Community Foundation until it can be re-installed."
From the Eau Claire Police Dept. (7-24-14): "On Thursday, July 24, 2014, the Eau Claire Police Department received information from a community member as to the whereabouts of the stolen sculpture. Eau Claire Police Department Detectives responded to this location and recovered the sculpture. The sculpture appeared undamaged and was returned to the Eau Claire Community Foundation. ... This theft is still under investigation and the Eau Claire Police Department Detective Division is following up on additional leads. No arrests have been made at this time. ... Anyone with further information regarding the theft is asked to contact Detective Kyle Jentzsch at 715-839-6020."
Unfortunately, another sculpture has been stolen from Sculpture Tour Eau Claire. The $11,000 sculpture taken in May of 2013 (from its pedestal in front of Stella Blues on Madison Street) is yet to be recovered. A $1500 reward is offered for information leading to the return of this latest sculpture – entitled All in the Same Boat, shown above. Check out the press release below, sent out Wednesday by the Eau Claire Community Foundation ...