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Riverside art and 2020 works discussed at art listening session

Brad Williams

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Now that the Big Indian statue is gone from La Crosse’s Riverside Park, should another piece of art take its place? 

The city arts board led an on-line discussion Wednesday night about new artworks which could be considered for the park. 

Arts board chair Jennifer Williams describes what a task force has in mind:  “an iconic and dynamic artwork to be situated in Riverside Park, that will engage the public intellectually, physically, and visually.”

Williams says a new piece would not have to go on the same site where Hiawatha stood for almost 60 years, until it was removed in August. 

One suggestion is to commission a statue representing the Ho-Chunk nation realistically. 

Hiawatha was criticized for years as a cartoonish symbol of people who didn’t even live in this region.  

The listening session also promoted plans for artworks to portray life in the year 2020 through two-dimensional art, such as paintings or photos.

Dillon McArdle of the arts board hopes to get proposals from artists who have gone without income this year.    

The arts board has a $12,000 budget for this year to spend on the project, and a single artist might get up to $1000 to work on it.

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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