Visual Art

‘Sanctuary’ Pod Public Art Officially Installed at UWEC Campus

collaborative piece aims to create connections after an isolating year

V1 Staff, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

Core values of a new public art installation in Eau Claire include collaboration, sustainable and locally sourced materials, fine craftsmanship, a fun yet challenging design, problem solving, and – perhaps most importantly of all – teamwork. 

And that’s precisely what Tim Brudnicki and Joe Maurer of Timber Space Eau Claire brought to their “Sanctuary” pod public art piece, which was installed this week on the UW-Eau Claire campus. It is located in front of the new Flesch Family Welcome Center at 127 Roosevelt Ave. 

Also dubbed the “Street Beetle” or “Blugold Beetle,” this public art endeavor took a team of local artists, creatives, and handymen to pull off, including Brudnicki and Maurer, who work together under the name Timber Space Eau Claire, which repurposes wood from around the Chippewa Valley to create custom furnishings for area businesses. 

The Street Beetle is formed from reclaimed urban ash trees – including trees cut down in the name of construction or as a result of the emerald ash borer infesting indigenous ash trees. The exterior is stained a bright shade of gold and is about the size of a vehicle – so you really can’t miss it! Inscribed inside the beetle (or pod – whichever you prefer) is a commemorative poem, courtesy of local author Nickolas Butler. 
With the help of UW-Eau Claire (particularly Kimera Way), Artisan Forge Studios’ Greg Johnson, Lien and Peterson Architects structural engineers, the Eau Claire Public Arts Council, and a slew of other local creatives, this public art installation offers a gathering place for up to five students and community members who have faced isolation in the past year and a half as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out photos of the installation project here: 

 

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