CLEAR WATER (WQOW) – New sculptures are being installed as part of the highly visual Sculpture Tour at Eau Claire.
When the weather is nice you will often find people posing in front of all the beautiful sculptures downtown, and after Thursday there will be even more artwork.
Over 20 new sculptures are added to downtown Eau Claire and surrounding neighborhoods as part of the Sculpture Tour, bringing the total to over 70.
“It’s like Christmas Day because we get to unveil all the new sculptures,” said Julie Pangallo, support for the arts and public events with Visit Eau Claire.
Additional artwork includes a guitar, a dog and cat on a scooter, a giant red heart with an arrow running through it, and a kinetic piece that moves with the wind.
“It’s so exciting to see this work of art come to town and know that we’re expanding the tour,” Pangallo said. “To be honest, a lot of tours across the country haven’t made it through COVID and we’re not just doing that. We’re thriving. We’re growing.”
Harold Linke of Lake Oswego, Oregon made an artist’s carbon fiber piece in front of the Pablo Center.
“The idea here is that the audience will re-energize the performers who just performed and that’s that ballet bow,” Linke said.
Linke has been sculpting for 35 years and said this piece took him two months.
“There is a construction period, a design period and a finishing period,” Linke said. “The design usually takes about a week, then the build uses 3D printers, uses carbon fiber vacuum bagging. And then the finish is an automotive finish.”
And while people marvel at the masterpieces, nearby business owners hope they will attract more customers to their stores.
“I think the new sculptures give people another reason to come downtown and find out what’s going on there,” said Chris Buske, owner of Wonders of Nature on Barstow Street. “Everyone is excited to go out now that things are a little better and the weather is nice.”
Officials said the artwork on display this year is valued at more than half a million dollars.
Some of the sculptures on display are available for purchase. 25% of the commission goes towards Sculpture Tour to help continue the program. The rest is up to the artist.
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