Eyes of Eau Claire

After a semester of meeting local artists, Currents Editor Elizabeth Gosling reflects on her experiences

More stories from Elizabeth Gosling

This past semester, several different artists were featured as part of the series: Eyes of Eau Claire.

Photo by Kendall Ruchti

This past semester, several different artists were featured as part of the series: Eyes of Eau Claire.

Most Eau Claire natives would say the city in Wisconsin’s Northwest is normal. They would, unless proven differently, believe that supporting the arts is expected and being different is accepted. Unlike many other communities in Wisconsin, Eau Claire is an anomaly and those a part of it believe in creative ideas and let people express themselves on every city corner.

Over the semester, I’ve met artists who express themselves in ways unseen before. Growing up as a shy and somewhat insecure girl from northeastern Wisconsin, Eau Claire has changed me and exposed me to so much. Art, in its variety and novelty, is one of this town’s pride and joys.

Through looking at ways people see Eau Claire and express it through their art, I now believe in the power to be abstract, and there is never a right answer when it comes to art. If you’ve read this column start to finish, you can see examples how everyone does their own art a little differently.

Erin Duba and Jean Accola who are both painters, are years apart from each other in age, but they hold the same love for art and brushing paint on a canvas. Nature, a shared inspiration, radiates in their work, spreading silent waves of peace and creativity on the canvas.

Other visual artists like Tom Gardner, who use a camera and light as means of expression, show that art is possible through digital means and making abstract art seem like a real can-do.

These are just some of the visual artists I met and featured. Looking on the performing arts side, it was interesting to meet people like Lizzy Diane, Michelle Anthony and Dawson Redenius, who use the Eau Claire community to spread awareness for other causes.

Anthony, who is also a part of organizations dedicated to the empowerment of women and freedom from societal norms, uses her involvement in Moonrise Aerials and the Torch Sisters for a greater purpose. In my experience, I had never seen anyone do art for a greater purpose like Anthony. Her work and vision reflects the goodness of arts in society and is something this community so willingly supports.

Starting off the semester with Hilary Ivory, a Reiki Master-Teacher in Eau Claire, really opened my eyes to alternative therapies and the interest in the earth and geographies in different parts of the world. Energy, which comes from many sources, such as food, water and other people, also comes from stones and different elements. Not knowing about this, I was mind-boggled and interested, as well as slightly skeptical.

Over the weeks, however, I learned to let go of this incredulous feeling and accept each kind of art for what it is. Through expressing in words the art of several different artists, I learned to put confidence in the artists and become someone who wanted to and could tell their story with full clarity.

Thank you for sticking along for the journey of “Eyes of Eau Claire.” Although the column is over now, art is all around us, so seek it out and support it, whether that means going to your favorite downtown cafe and listening to a local band or buying a product from a local art store. It doesn’t just support the artist, it helps the community and spreads the awareness for not just art but civilian movements, as well.