Cities located along the Great Lakes have a tradition of installing outdoor sculpture in public places to commemorate important events or memorialize individuals who have had an impact on the community.
Both abstract and figural in nature, and often large-scale, the monuments grace parkland and town square alike. They often attain an iconic visual distinction and come to represent, to the world, a specific urban area.
Examples include Detroit’s “Monument to Joe Louis” aka “The Fist” by Robert Graham in Hart Plaza or Anish Kapoor’s reflective “Cloud Gate” (The Bean) in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
The Great Lakes provide a backdrop for sculpture located in smaller cities as well. “Spirit of the Rivers,” by R. T. “Skip” Wallen is situated beside Mariners Trail on the lake road connecting Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Zachary Oxman’s “Fantastical Traveler” depicts Waukegan-born American author Ray Bradbury astride a rocket ship. The statue is installed on the entrance plaza of Waukegan Public Library near the Lake Michigan shore in Northeastern Illinois.
The artwork by Wallen and Oxman are featured in Celebrate Libraries® videos which developed from projects spotlighting public libraries in Two Rivers and Waukegan.
Thanks to Lester Public Library Director Jeff Dawson in Two Rivers for sharing his knowledge of the origins of the “Spirit of the Rivers” project.
Current project: Audio interviews of two Canadian authors associated with Maison de la littérature (House of Literature) in Québec City are being edited. Two additional interviews will be recorded in coming weeks. The four interviews are expected to be published on the Celebrate Libraries Website soon and distributed to US and Canadian media groups.
Moving Forward with Celebrate Libraries®
The planned March 2022 trip to Québec City has been rescheduled due to the recent upsurge of COVID-19 illness in North America. Please check back for further updates.
The Age of Exploration will never truly close as long as humanity remains curious and takes risks to learn new things. Today’s explorers investigate deep sea waters and a limitless expanding universe. They live in pressurized submarines and orbiting spacecraft high above the Earth. They also look inward and inquire about their own kind. Who are we and why we do we choose to live where and as we do?
With the voice and vision of select writers, poets and artists who have a connection with the Maison, we believe we can present a portrait of this moment in time and share it with an engaged audience.
The Maison project considers the concept of “home.” Questions are posed such as what is “home” and how is it defined? How may this change? How does a person leave home, explore a new place or an idea and then return with what has been found or experienced?
We invite you to explore with us. Let’s see what we can discover.
As libraries gradually begin to reopen in response to COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, Celebrate Libraries® is reaching out with thanks to the librarians, business associates and other individuals who have joined with CL® in this marvelous journey.
It has been nearly six years since Celebrate Libraries® started collecting images in Edgerton, Wisconsin for the first library video. Since then CL® has produced over 55 videos and recorded about 30 audio interviews. In 2018, the company expanded the initiative into northern Illinois.
To date CL® has worked in communities from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Downers Grove, Illinois and west to La Crosse County, Wisconsin. As Celebrate Libraries® moves forward we will be exploring libraries of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Celebrate Libraries® will be working in 2021-22 with a literacy center in Québec and plans to feature the organization with a podcast and video. This is an amazing opportunity and CL® looks forward to sharing the experience with viewers and listeners.
According to the Michigan Sea Grant organization, approximately 34 million people in the United Sates and Canada live in the Great Lakes Basin. Thank you again for your support and please return often. Celebrate Libraries® will provide regular updates on the project.
What is a bridge? A link. A connection. A means of uniting. A bond. A tie. What does it mean to bridge? To join, to reconcile, to associate, to share. Join Celebrate Libraries® as we Build Bridges Across the Seaway.
The new Celebrate Libraries® venture explores literature and performance in Great Lakes basin communities beside the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada and the U.S.A.
Celebrate Libraries will develop a podcast series based on writers and performers of the Great Lakes region, beginning with the Province of Québec. Some of the featured individuals are associated with the writers’ residency program at Maison de la littérature in Québec City.