Last semester the natural landscape of the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station provided inspiration for a half a dozen student sculptures which are now displayed around the station’s grounds.
The project was born when Tom Quinn, Central Wisconsin Environmental Station director, contacted Kristin Thielking, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point sculpture professor. Upon Quinn’s request, students from Thielking’s sculpture class were tasked with creating sculptures for the station.
Quinn said these sculptures were meant to, “enhance the appeal of the buildings and grounds and welcome our visitors and highlight beauty the of the natural setting.”
The artists were at liberty to express these goals as they saw fit, the only requirements were that the sculptures have an environmental focus, last at least two years and be made with natural materials.
Jordan King, program manager at the station, was happy with how the project turned out.
King said, “we focus a lot on environmental education, teaching people about the natural world. A lot of the pieces went right along with that.”
Several of the pieces were done in collaboration with UWSP artists and students from the Tomorrow River Community Charter School located at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station.
One of these sculptures was created from molds of charter school teacher and student hands. Since the charter school focuses on interactive learning, the hands were captured as if in the action of doing handwork like knitting. The resulting piece is not only visually intriguing, but also connects the art to students and teachers at the station.
The station also provides a location for Stevens Point students to enjoy their peers’ artwork, since the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station hosts several University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point programs, specifically for College of Natural Resource students.
Each year some natural resources students fulfill part of their required summer field experience at the station before attending seminars in Europe. Environmental Education or Youth Programming and Camp Management students can also gain teaching experience through a semester long practicum at the station.
Bianca Settimi, environmental education and interpretation major participated in the semester practicum at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station last year.
She is supportive of the sculpture project because she said it is “great to have art and nature, plus we have an art school and natural resources school on the same campus.”
Semitti says that although she is a natural resource major she has always appreciated art. She feels that the incorporation of art into the landscape at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station will make “good learning stations for all ages.”