Category Archives: Artists

Herman Miller At the Woodson

Exceptional exhibit at the Woodson Art Museum relating to the Herman Miller company.  Now, whenever I hear the name, “Herman Miller,” which I do all the time on NPR, I can’t help but think there is a guy by the name of “Herman Miller” who does nothing but design furniture all day, especially since this company is well known for their wonderful designs.

But turns out that Herman Miller (the man) never really designed anything, he was a fellow with deep pockets whose money kept a struggling furniture  company from going under in the Great Depression.  The company was renamed in his honor, and what an honor it has turned out to be.  You can read all about this on the Hazel Home blog.

In the mean time, save me a spot on the Marshmallow Sofa and I’ll see you at the Woodson!

Podcast Part 2

Here is the second half of the interview with Wendell Minor, which I did last weekend at the MCPL. If you haven’t already, go one post down and listen to the first part.

For much more about Wendell Minor you can go to his website.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/17712583/view]

Chalkfest Now History


Sun_chalkfest_IMG_3925

Originally uploaded by wausaublog

This year’s Chalkfest had a colorful, but short run this year. The rains came Sunday night and smudged out most of the work. But before the rains came I had the handy Canon there to capture a few images, which are over on the Flickr page. Enjoy.

Mural Savings Account

My apologies for not posting at my usual rate this week, I have been a bit preoccupied by a few matters. One of the biggest seems to have become the mural at the Scott Street Pub.

Pub Mural As regular readers know, a few years ago an artist by the name of Marcus Nickel was hired by Tom Bergs to paint a mural on the wall of the second floor of the Scott Street Pub building. The upstairs room was to become another venue of the pub, either a dining room or second stage or whatever. For various reasons, the mural was completed, but the plans for the second story never came to fruition, and there the mural sat, mostly unseen, except by a few people who worked at the pub or knew someone who did.

As the Pub teetered several times on being closed and the property bought by MCDEVCO, the development arm of the county, an underground campaign was launched to see if there was some way to save the mural from the wrecking ball that almost certainly hangs over that whole block. About 6 months ago I was told of the mural and given a chance to photograph it, and the photos are here on the Flickr site of the blog. But mostly we waited to see what fate would actually bring.

But now fate has acted — along with MCDEVCO.

As most of you know, MCDEVCO has in fact bought the property and the short term plan is to raze the buildings and put up a parking lot. Well, pave one anyway. It was last week that I got the email from Dino that simply said, “Anyone want to save a mural?” And it turns out a fair number of people do.

I don’t want to start handing out public kudos yet, because the mural is not saved yet. I don’t want people to think that the people who are helping out did not do their jobs or something if the effort is ultimately unsuccessful. But I can say this.

I put out calls and emails to people I have met through doing the Wausaublog and told them the situation, and pretty much to a person, they said, “What can I do?” Mostly I didn’t know at first, but ideas went around and suddenly things started to move a bit. People started looking for technical assistance from architects and historical preservation people. People who were involved with the original project have been found. Information has been exchanged, and plans are beginning to be formulated.

We are a long way from having the mural “saved” but I think the people are in place to do so and more importantly, there is a general consensus that it should be saved. And I think that is a very good thing. It is a pretty happening city that saves a piece of its cultural heritage — and an awesomely cool city that saves that heritage even though it was the town’s best kept secret. If we can pull this off, Wausau will definitely be a cooler place.

And just for the record, here is my personsal vision of what I hope can happen. I hope that we can physically remove the mural from the Pub building and eventually put it on public display somewhere. Many ideas have been suggested to me for that, like the Pavillion in Rothschild or somewhere on Artsblock. But what I personally hope for is that the mural will be included in the plans for whatever structure goes onto that block on Scott Street. I can foresee the mural wall surrounded by some plaques that tell of the musical history of the Pub and of Wausau. It would be a great way to recognize that musical heritage and provide a nice little tourist attraction to boot.

As time goes on I am sure will be things we can all do to play our part in this. Right now I think the best thing we can do is talk up the idea so that the powers that be will see this as a worthwhile project.

In the meantime, there is one more week to go at the Pub and a lineup of “last concerts” is in the works starting at 9:30 pm tonight. Even if you have not been there often, or even if it would be your first time, come on out and fill the place up one more time. It is never too late to say “thanks” to Tom Bergs and the Pub for filling our city with music and the energy that flows from that. The venue of the Pub will be sorely missed, so come out and make sure it has a fond farewell. See you there!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

I really wish I had been able to more effectively plug the Exhibitour in advance, but being a participant really limited my time, as you may have noticed by the lack of recent postings here.

My firsthand impression of Exhibitour was absolutely fantastic, even though I was not able to get around to the other venues. The weather was perfect, and the big crowd of people happily strolling up and down Third Street was very heartwarming. Even more heartwarming was the number of people I talked to who noticed this and said, “Wouldn’t be nice if there were this many people downtown all the time?” And who knows, with the changes that are surely coming in transportation and some new ventures and ideas downtown, maybe we will see a resurgence. I certainly hope so.

One of my few Exhibitour PixBut I have to say that as nice boost as Exhibitour was for downtown, it was a total blast for me. One of the occupational hazards of being a photographer is the thought that nature and the camera do all the work and that I am just a conduit. But many kind people reminded me that perhaps I see things differently and maybe even uniquely. Thank you very much for that. When the evening was over, I felt like I had nothing but “thank yous” left to give. I hope I don’t forget anyone here, if I do, my apologies.

First, I have to thank Leah Alters and Wausau Area Events for putting together the whole idea. This is big city stuff and everyone involved in the concept and planning did a great job. Things seemed to run very smoothly, and I like said, downtown was filled with happy people. Doing their jobs perfectly, I would say.

An enormous “Thank You” has to go to Lisa and her crew at the First American Center. Lisa was kind enough to invite me to exhibit there and also purchased several prints of mine for display in the building. Without this “pump priming” I don’t know if I would have been able to display as much of my work as I did. Lisa and her co-workers, Dale and Brian, did everything (and I mean everything — from schlepping tables to keeping the ice bowls filled) to make sure things ran smoothly and that people had a nice experience. For me the equation was pretty simple: “No Lisa, No Exhibitour.” Thank you so much for the opportunity and making it happen.  Oh, and Dale and Brian — thanks a ton for the Bottle Rockets ticket, they are an awesome band.  Hope the two of you made it home OK. 😉

I know they got paid, but I am so glad that the John Greiner Trio was there to provide the musical backdrop for the evening. I told John that Lisa had asked me, “Who do you want for music?” When I looked at her and said, “Duh,” she was on the phone to John right away. Good call. And for those of you lamenting the end of Kelly’s and John’s regular presence there, he wants everyone to know he has found a new home. His big band, The Swing Shift Band, is playing at the American Legion Hall on Thursday nights. He told me his first time out there was Thursday and he had a 14 piece band there and got a great reception. Fourteen great musicians on one stage in Wausau? You gotta get on this. See you at the Legion Hall.

Another great talent I had the pleasure of sharing the evening with was Josh Ernst. Josh and I did not get to talk to much as we both were a bit busy. But I could not help by notice that while I was sipping Diet Coke and trying not to sweat through my clothes making small talk, Josh turned out something like 50 pots and bowls and other works. Considering my art consists of pushing a button, I was amazed at how quickly and easily he could take a lump of clay and form it into something both decorative and useful. His finished works he had on display were quite beautiful. I think you will be hearing more from this young man.

Another talent was on display, but maybe most folks may have missed this artist. The folks at the Downtown Grocery provided delectables that kept me and every one else going for the evening. The Chai Tea was perfect, we should have ordered several more 55 gallon drums of that. 🙂 Everything else was scrumptious as well. Thanks to Kevin and his crew.

Thanks to the folks who came up and said they are Wausaublog readers, it is really nice to know you are out there. Yes, I get statistics about how many page views there are, but it is so nice to actually know that people are reading this and appreciate it. Community happens face to face, so I am glad I could meet you. And even though community is face to face, you can still participate here by commenting on the posts. Let’s not only see the same hands each time, OK?

And thanks so much to everyone else who stopped by. The comments were wonderful and it was nice to see people enjoying my work and the whole evening. It was deeply gratifying.

Finally, and this may be strange, but I want to thank Wausau. Wausau as a city and a place. While talking with people at the exhibit, I realized and started saying that almost every picture displayed was taken within five miles of downtown. I hadn’t really realized that before. But there it was, from our newest skyscraper to silos in the sunset — all within biking distance of each other. Wausau is an amazing place, and can be a very exotic locale, if you make it one. I am so glad I am here.

Thank you all very much.

ps I wasn’t really able to get good pictures of my own event, as I was told that I was not allowed to “hide behind the camera.” So, this picture I snuck away to take will have to do.

Yet Another Picture Update

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

I know I was “supposed” to do it everyday, but it just seems to come in bunches lately.  I posted about a dozen pictures to the CW360.  The original idea was to post a picture a day from around the area, but that kind of schedule just has not worked out for me.

For those who seem to feel that the photos here on the Wausaublog are, ummmm, focused too much on a certain downtown development, or even in development in general, I encourage you to take a look.  It is my goal to try and present our area in a little bit different, ummmm, light.  Hopefully a flattering one at that.

I will also take the opportunity to announce here first (first at least in those areas where the City Pages has not hit the streets yet) that if you want to see prints of my work, nosh on some wonderful food and hear the best jazz in town, you can do that.

I was graciously invited to participate in the Exhibitour, Friday May 18th, at the First American Center.  Josh Ernst will be throwing pots that evening and John Greiner and his trio will be providing the musical accompaniment.  Frankly, I am humbled to be included with such talents.  Throw in some wonderful food and a bit of wine, and you have a really nice stop on the Exhibitour.

I hope that all of you will get a chance to stop by.  When you do, please mention that you read it on the blog.  I would like to meet all of you and thank you for keeping this afloat for the past year.  I have lots of “thank yous” that need to be said for the opportunity to participate in Exhibitour, but I will save those to say in person as well.

Make sure you hit all the other Exhibitour stops as well and show your support for our local artists and business.

And that’s a Wrap

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

I had the pleasure of sitting down with James Rubino, the organizer of the Wausau Film Festival after it was over last night.  He was pleased with the turnout for the event and is planning further film events here in Wausau.  He is hoping to have have quarterly showings of local films at an intimate venue like Kelly’s with a larger annual festival.  Certainly ambitious plans, but if realized it will add very much to the already vibrant arts scene here in Wausau.

About 120 people attended the 4 showings of the festival, which James considered pretty good for the first time out.  It may be that the perfect spring weather held down attendance during the afternoon showings, the 7 pm showing was completely full, and the folks at Kelly’s were kind enough to allow an extra showing of some of the films after 9 pm, which also attracted a pretty good crowd considering it was not on the original program.

Audience members were enthusiastic about the films, as I chatted with James at the end of the last showing, he would ask people as they left what they thought of the event and which films they liked best.  Every one gave the event as a whole a thumbs up, and picked “Tractor for Sale”; “The Magnificent Donut” and the “big budget” “West Bank Story” as favorites.  James also mentioned that among the younger set, “Ghost Tag” got rave reviews as it is somewhat of a music video featuring the music of local bands.  If you missed the festival, you can check out the films by going to www.jcrubino.net, where James has links to all of the films that were shown.

But interestingly enough, James gives the internet mixed reviews when it comes to filmaking.

“It is great for communications among filmmakers,” he said, “and good for getting the word out about a film,” but he feels it “would be a shame” if that is how people experienced film.

“It should be a community experience,” he went on, citing similar thought expressed by Ken Burns in his recent appearance in Stevens Point.  “There should be a shared experience with film — maybe you will start laughing after you hear the person next to you laugh, too.”  Especially if that person is snorting through their nose at “Chad Vader,” I have to add.

Community was a big theme in why James put together the film festival and throughout our conversation.  James feels that there is the underpinnings of a very good film making community here is Wausau.  James feels that with some sponsorship and underwriting that a community film making effort could really take off here.  James feels the talent and creativity is here, and judging from the films that were shown, I have to agree.  James also feels that perhaps one avenue that really needs to be explored is the collaboration between local bands and local film makers.

It is true that Wausau has a tremendous arts community, including such wonderful institutions such as the Leigh Yawkey-Woodson Art Museum, The Center for the Visual Arts, the Wausau Conservatory of Music, Wausau Dance Theater and many others.  It would be nice if soon there was a similar place for film makers and their art, and I think that James and his crew that put together this first film festival are off to a good start to make that happen.