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La Crosse may have a contest for new artwork to replace Hiawatha



Do you have ideas for a work of art that could replace Hiawatha on the La Crosse riverfront? 

The La Crosse arts board has a special meeting this week, to discuss a proposed contest for an artwork that would be placed in the general area where the Indian statue has been since 1961. 

The arts board also is being asked to endorse the removal of Hiawatha, approved last week by the La Crosse park board. 

And another item on Friday’s agenda asks that the arts board be included in decision-making about public works of art. 

The board normally meets early in the month, and did not have a chance to discuss the request made last week by Mayor Tim Kabat to have Hiawatha removed. 

A draft of the plan calls for a sculpture that ‘will engage, educate, and inspire the public.’ 

The city park board voted unanimously to have Hiawatha removed, after decades of criticism that the statue is an inaccurate stereotype of native tribes in the region.       

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.

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  1. Jerome Rief

    July 22, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Put up a statue of a famous dog!

  2. Gene Neumann

    July 23, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    It is a shame that just a few people can raise a fuss about a beautiful piece of artwork have the ability to convince the La Crosse park board to remove the Hiawatha statue from Riverside. La Crosse is my “Home Town” and I believe that there are some people in La Crosse who think a bit Left of Center. Always thought it neat to have the statue of Hiawatha overlooking the Mississippi.

    • Joe

      August 3, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      It’s not a great work of art. I don’t mind the idea of Hiawatha overlooking the Mississippi, but we can do better than that. So I don’t mind them replacing it. My only concern is that they’ll put something worse to look at. Near the city hall they have an awful blue baby hatching from an egg, for example.

  3. Sam

    July 24, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    How about nothing. In time it too will be deemed politically incorrect.

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