Sculpture Tour Forms

locals bring set of sculptures to downtown EC

Maggie McCracken

A stop on the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour was recently installed along S. Barstow Street, across from the entrance to Phoenix Park. Watch for more soon!
 
A stop on the Eau Claire Sculpture
Tour was recently installed along
S. Barstow Street, across from the
entrance to Phoenix Park. Watch for
more soon!

An exiting new program, Sculpture Tour Eau Claire, is aimed at beautifying Eau Claire, supporting its arts, and bringing its residents to the downtown area. This interactive art project educates as well as inspires urban vitality and economic development. And it’s all a collaborative effort fueled by community involvement.

Benny HaHa art supply owner Benny Haas says of his involvement, “We are comprised of a small group of passionate individuals with a desire to bring a community beautification project to Eau Claire.”

Sculpture Tour officially begins June 4, as downtown’s sidewalks will play host to 26 large-scale sculptures made of bronze/steel/marble/stone by artists around the continent. A jury of locals selected the pieces, which will be on display for about 11 months, and will distribute maps for downtown patrons to visit all the pieces, learn a little about them, and vote on their favorite, which in turn is purchased by Sculpture Tour Eau Claire and given to the city to put on permanent display somewhere. Others can be purchased by anyone. And then the whole process repeats a year from now, with all-new pieces.

Originating eight years ago in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this breed of project has since spread to cities in Kansas, Minnesota, Canada, and now Eau Claire. Haas explains that the Sculpture Tour will bring many benefits to downtown Eau Claire.

“An appreciation for public art, an opportunity to participate in art discussions and blogs, a showcase for family and visitors from out of town, school tours, nursing home tours, fitness walks, photo contests, and more,” will all be attributes of this artistic revival program. But it’s not just the tourism business and the art scene that will benefit. From downtown business to public transit and university recruiting, it seems such a project can benefit all Eau Claire residents, artistic or not.


Our pieces come from all over, with two coming from local artists right here and some as far as Canada. In fact, one of the pieces to be displayed, titled SculptureWalker, was created by an artist whose work was previously selected for Sioux Falls, and last year he started the event in Castlegar, Canada.

Downtown’s sidewalks will play host to 26 sculptures made of bronze/steel/marble/stone by artists around the continent. A jury of locals selected the pieces, which will be on display for about 11 months.

“Ours is a small community of about 10,000 people,” Pat Field said, “but it has revitalized our downtown core, added culture, and given a boost to economic development.”

Field said the power these events have had on downtowns is nothing short of miraculous, and he suspects the same will be true for Eau Claire. “What happens is, if you have the horsepower, you get some powerful testimonials for downtown. People go down for the sculptures, interact with the stores, and bring it back as a cultural destination point. Gradually, people increase their investment in downtown.”

The majority of the sculptures will appear on Barstow Street along with granite bases that have their titles engraved on them, with others on surrounding downtown streets and outside Mayo Clinic Health System (formerly Luther Midelfort). Each of the pieces has a business sponsor (because all the shipping and granite costs money) as well as a myriad of in-kind support to get it here.

“This is truly a community event for the entire community to enjoy,” Haas added.

Find out all the details at SculptureTour.com.