Sculpture tour: best and worst

Story by Eric Christenson

If you stayed in Eau Claire this summer, chances are you saw downtown play host to a community of 27 large-scale sculptures designed locally and internationally for Sculpture Tour Eau Claire.

As The Spectator reported last spring, you can vote for your favorites of the 50-week installment at designated ballot boxes around downtown. At the end of the tour, the tour organization and the sculpture’s local sponsors will purchase the sculpture with the most votes and donate it to the city of Eau Claire.

Now, if you need a little extra inspiration to get downtown, check ‘em out and vote, here are a few of my favorites and one that is definitely the worst.

My favorite #1

“High Five” by Louise Peterson (Colorado)
We could talk about how it’s a minimalist effort that’s full of optimism and subtle humor; we could talk about how it’s artfully and tastefully crafted; we could talk about how it embodies a spirit of loyalty and friendship in a society and culture diving towards corruption and cynicism. Yeah, absolutely. But mostly, we should talk about how it’s a Great Dane giving you a high five and that’s perfect. So please, don’t leave him hanging; he deserves it.



My favorite #2

“Lunch Hour” by Dan Massopust (Wisconsin)
This sculpture of an otter chasing two small fish is amazingly well-crafted. Again, it’s a simple narrative (otter chases fish to eat; end scene), but it’s in the sculpture’s subtleties where it goes from being just okay to being really interesting and fun to look at.  First of all, how clever to attach the fish to the seaweed!  It really makes the scene more realistic and that much more three-dimensional and adds a ton of movement that a typical sculpture would leave stationary.  I’m glad.

My least favorite

“Grannie’s Garden” by Lee Leunig and Sherry Treeby (South Dakota)
Okay, it’s not that this isn’t a good sculpture.  Not at all!  It’s a fine sculpture, sure!  There are exactly three problems with it.
1.) Some of those vegetables are stacked a little precariously and DEFINITELY would’ve fallen out of her arms.
2.) I can’t deal with the brass skin.  It’s too much.  Why paint the rest?  Eh, I don’t know, whatever.
The biggest problem is 3.) IT’S TERRIFYING.  If you’ve ever been downtown after dark near the bridge on Barstow Street by Phoenix Park, seeing this sculpture can be nothing short of an awfully harrowing and potentially life-altering fright.  So just … watch yourselves out there.  Be careful.

Now, there are 24 other sculptures in the downtown area that are equally fun and weird (see the turtle on its back, taking it easy) and equally unnerving at night (see the lady sitting on the bench by Revival Records) so make sure you go see the sculptures and vote, otherwise Grannie will be there forever to haunt your nights downtown.