PERMANENT ART COLLECTION
Five Wisconsin artists were selected to create works of art that are integrated into the building's design, adding to the warm and welcoming ambiance. Two other works of art were donated to the Wilson Center by generous benefactors. We welcome visitors to explore the many artworks in our permanent art collection!
22 Steps | Peter Flanary, Mineral Point, WI
Twenty-two limestone boulders each weighing 5,000 pounds are placed like Greek columns along the walkway that leads to the Wilson Center's main entrance. The stones deflect space through flow and pattern along the walkway, drawing visitors to the Center's entrance, and extending inside to the Grand Hall through a ribbon of polished river stone. 22 Steps engages site, material, community, nature, and the visitor and reflects an emphatic concrete materiality, which flows symbolically from the outdoors to the indoors, reinforcing the natural beauty of the site. Flanary teaches sculpture at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and his work is well known across the region. He is the owner of Foundry Arts, located in Mineral Point, and held the position of Technical Liaison for the Arts/Industry Program at the Kohler Company. He is best known for his large-scale commissioned pieces featuring stone, metal, or wood. His accomplishments include an extensive list of commissions, grants, and residencies and his work has been widely exhibited regionally and internationally.
Joy of Music | George Lundeen, Loveland, CO
Lundeen's impressive life-size bronze sculpture depicting various musicians located on the west side of the Wilson Center was created for a surprise gift from Don Wilson to his wife, Kate. Models for the sculpture are taken from Lundeen's own family members. A native of Holdrege, Nebraska, Lundeen was a Fullbright-Hayes Scholar studying at the Academia de Belle Arte in Florence, Italy. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts from Hastings College in Nebraska. He established his sculpting studio in Loveland, CO in the mid-1970's where he currently lives and works.
Bridging the Arts | facilitated by Joel Pfeiffer, Hartland, WI
These geometric forms situated at the front entrance to the building were created with the help of hundreds of hearty community members on September 8, 2001. Prior to the opening of the Wilson Center, young and old alike gathered in Mitchell Park and took part in a "Clay Stomp,"—an activity which encourages people to "stomp" wet clay with their bare feet. The clay was then placed into tile forms and participants carved designs that depicted the importance of the arts in our lives. Pfeiffer then glazed and fired the tiles and assembled Bridging the Arts. Pfeiffer has facilitated nearly 100 Clay Stomps around the world. He is best known locally for his exchange project with Leningrad, Russia and Milwaukee in 1989 that resulted in a tile installation at Mitchell International Airport. He also facilitated a World Clay Stomp project in 1993 in Flagstaff, Arizona with participants from 37 countries. An art teacher Arrowhead High School since 1978, Pfeiffer holds a B.S. in Art Education and a Masters of Arts from UW-Milwaukee. He continues to do clay stomp projects with schools, communities, and corporations.
Flock | Steve Feren, Oregon, WI
Designed to hang from the ceiling of The Harris Theater a flock of unique hand-blown birds soar over patrons' heads. The 18" birds of various types are suspended at different heights and lit with fiber-optic pastel lights that slowly change color. Representing nature and the park setting surrounding the Wilson Center, the birds enhance the spirit created by performances onstage. Feren is a nationally recognized artist and accomplished professor of art at the University of Wisconsin. His work has been commissioned, awarded, and collected throughout Wisconsin as creations of public art and permanently exhibited in academic institutions, and other areas of public use.
A gift from Lyle and Nancy Campbell.
Dancing Cranes | John Rawlins, Ixonia, WI
Inspired by nature and interpreted in bronze, Dancing Cranes is one of many sculptures created by Rawlins to recreate the beauty that surrounds us in our natural world. Expressing the sweeping lines of the powerful wings in rhythm with the graceful arching necks, his bronze sculpture located in the Strohmaier Sculpture and Botanical Garden, located on the west side of the Wilson Center, portrays the nuptial rites and displaying of our indigenous sand hill cranes. Rawlins began creating artwork at an early age. His love of nature was encouraged by his Native American father, and his sense of design nurtured by his mother, a floral designer. jroriginals.com
A gift from Andrea and Anthony Bryant.
Streaming | Susan Falkman, Milwaukee, WI
A towering 40-foot high limestone sculpture surrounds the fireplace that is the focal point of the Wilson Center's Elmbrook Rotary Fireplace Lounge and Kuttemperoor Grand Hall. The sculpture is a celebration of earth, fire, air and water, an aesthetic expression of the universal energy that sustains the rhythm of life. Work on the sculpture began before there were walls built around it and it took Falkman nine months to hand-carve the entire sculpture on-site, much of the time with little to protect her from the elements. Falkman has lived and worked abroad, her sculptures recognized nationally and internationally. Carving marble for the past twenty-four years, Falkman has lived, studied and worked in Naxos, Greece and Carrara, Italy. She has been the recipient of several international awards for her work and is included in the book Contemporary American Women Sculptors. Her exhibit "Body Memories" is comprised of 33 marble sculptures and is a tribute to women who have breast cancer—has been seen throughout the upper Midwest. susanfalkman.com
Given in memory of Richard and Marie Honkamp by The Honkamp Family.
Growth in the Arts | Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc., New Berlin, WI
The life-sized, etched glass tree that fills the windows of the Elmbrook Rotary Fireplace Lounge in the Wilson Center's Kuttemperoor Grand Hall embrace vibrancy and growth among the arts in this community, inspired by the beautiful setting surrounding the Wilson Center. The unusual, Leptat® etching technique used for the project was patented by the artist who conceived the design, Bernard O. Gruenke, Sr., and his son, Bernard E. Gruenke, Jr. The project was donated by the Gruenke Foundation for the Arts in conjunction with New Berlin's century-old, national decorative arts studio, Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc., of which Mr. Gruenke is President Emeritus, and which remains under the direction of his family. Mr. Gruenke is a longtime resident of Brookfield, a donor to the Wilson Center, and an early proponent of establishing an art center in Brookfield. An internationally recognized glass artist who was one of the first to introduce faceted glass to the U.S. in 1949, Bernard O. Gruenke has been honored with numerous awards, including the Stained Glass Association of America's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Midsummer Dream | Lawrence D'Attilio, Brookfield, WI
The 42" x 90" black and white photo mural located on the wall adjacent to the Wilson Center's development office is truly a fantasy for the viewer, blending the visual and performing arts into a natural setting. One can see new objects with each new viewing of this delightful mural.
Arts Suite | Michael Gross, Mount Horeb, WI
Michael Gross's art creates a whimsical theme with a series of handmade ceramic tiles representing dance, music, art, and nature. Designed specifically for the restroom areas, these brightly colored vignettes celebrate artists, musicians, and dancers at work. Decorative tiles surround the mirrors and sink areas. The natural tone glazes are complimentary to the interior's color scheme, while the artistic imagery highlights the Wilson Center's educational mission. Well known for his artistry in clay, Gross' colorful ceramic pieces can be found in many public and private collections across the country, including Milwaukee's Midwest Express Center.
Varied Recurrence | Terese Agnew, Milwaukee, WI
A series of cast concrete sculptures resembling the stumps of native Wisconsin trees are designed to act as benches or simply to artistically enhance the landscape on the east lawn of the Wilson Center. Recalling the origin of theater, Agnew's design concept emulates the custom of the early Greeks in gathering for a theatrical performance. In the year 2050, students from the School District of Elmbrook will open "time capsules" that they buried under the sculptures. The hope is that future musicians, artists and actors from the Elmbrook Schools will return to see where they got their start. Agnew's work varies from large scale (20 feet) quilt patterns on glass, steel, concrete, stone and fiberglass to collaborative work with theater and dance groups. She was awarded a Mary Nohl Fellowship in 2004 as an established Milwaukee artist for a body of work that includes Practice Bomber Range in the Mississippi Flyway, currently at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. This highly detailed quilt was created in 2002 through a process that Agnew refers to as, "drawing with thread." Another of Angew's quilts, The D.O.T. Straightens Things Out is included in the permanent collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Agnew's public art includes the Wisconsin Workers Memorial in Milwaukee's Ziedler Park as well as several temporary works. In 2005, Agnew opened her art quilt, "Portrait of a Textile Worker" at the Wilson Center—the 8' x 9' quilt is made entirely of clothing labels and depicts the Madonna-like image of a young woman at her sewing machine in a sweatshop in Bangladesh.