I was asked by Downtown Green Bay to design a project for their first annual Art Fest, a festival centered around art and culture to enliven the downtown. They knew they wanted it to be collaborative with our community and it was suggested to have it be clay. Yonder has designed several paint by number murals, but nothing with clay, so this would be a good opportunity to expand into other mediums for collaborative projects.
After some thinking of a subject, the Fox River, the main river dividing Green Bay into two halves and from which the city depends so much upon, would be a good starting point. The location chosen for the final installation was 238 E Walnut on a retaining wall by a parking garage, which was wide providing an ideal way to present the river horizontally. I sketch in some flora and fauna as something that provided our area's initial resources for development, before and after European colonization.
The team, including Jenny VandenLangenberg, Jen Metcalf, Laura Schley, Keith Carter, Carrie Dorski among others met to discuss the design and the process to bring it together. Keith Carter brought the clay expertise and we discussed how the collaborative piece on the two days of the event would work on for two days, July 29th and 30st. Participant artists would scribe imagery into the clay tablets or add low relief clay onto the tablet to make additive texture on the first day. On the second day they would color with glaze.
After many months drying in Keith's studio, he and his wife Sarah Carter worked to create the panels and get them ready to install on the wall. It was installed November 11th and dedicated November 21st.
The dedication was attended by the aforementioned team as well as representatives of one donor Capital Credit Union, including Kendra Leppard, Anders Goderstad and Steve Zich; and Wisconsin Arts Board Chair, Brian Kelsey.
I talked at the dedication and gave the designer's point-of-view. I only came up with the initial sketch to help get a vision and the project started, but so many people helped to get this underway and finished. The community submitted title ideas and "Spirit of the Fox" was chosen and that made me happy. It came full circle of my impetus for the project where the community would add their own mark on our own version of genus loci in celebration of art and our powerful river.
We look forward to many more collaborative projects with the Green Bay community.