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Is La Crosse artwork a sign of culture or lack of sensitivity?



Meeting Dec. 6 will discuss La Crosse’s culture through art 

Almost 20 years ago, people in La Crosse argued over whether the ‘Big Indian’ statue in Riverside Park ought to be taken down.

The statue was preserved, but the debate over local culture displayed in art never went away.

Dec. 6, a public meeting at the Three Rivers House in La Crosse is planned about how members of cultural groups are depicted in art works.

Lewis Kuhlman of the city planning office says a new statue unveiled last year shows La Crosse moving in a positive direction.

“Sort of beginning with the Poage sculpture in Poage Park and that naming and how that is celebrating our diverse cultures in La Crosse,” Kuhlman said.

Kuhlman thinks the meeting could focus on how to better show off existing works of art in town, as other cities do.

“Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota, all have really great downtown sculpture tours, just on the sidewalk and in the boulevard area,” he said, adding that people in La Crosse may be interested in seeing more artwork honoring the Ho Chunk and Hmong populations in the region.

The meeting will be sponsored by the city arts board and the Human Rights Commission.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.