Category Archives: Wausau

ETS and the FOA

Unfortunately, “Edward T. Schoenberger” is not a well known name around town, or at least not as well known as it should be.   There are no streets named in his honor, no schools or really anything as far as I can see.  His two largest works, if not entirely forgotten are no longer in their original locations, other works by Mr. Schoenberger are gone forever, like the man himself.

Ed Schoenberger was first and foremost an artist, working in a wide range of mediums.  One common thread to his work is that he had a knack for creating larger than life works of public art.

He started on that path in his native New Orleans during the Great Depression, painting a mural on the history of printing for the New Orleans Public Library as part of the Works Project Administration.  When World War II came along, Ed  found himself in the Army Air  Corps, but even in a time of war, Ed’s talent could not be denied and he again created larger than life murals, this time for US military bases.

After the war he headed for the East Coast where he worked as a designer for several companies.  With his cosmopolitian background: art schools, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, it might seem strange that he would up spending most of his life in Wausau.  But he did.

Succumbing to the pleadings of an old army buddy, John Stoutenburgh, Ed took a position as assistant director of the Marathon County Historical Society in 1957.  I wish that Ed were still alive so I could find out what exactly Stoutenburgh might have said to entice Ed to drop his East Coast life and come to Wausau.  Must have been powerful stuff.  Schoenberger spent 50 years in Wausau, until his passing in October of last year at the age of 92.

Schoenberger might have had a job title that indicated he was some kind of historian, but no matter what the title, he was first and foremost an artist.

His art projects and murals filled the Yawkey House with educational backdrops for the exhibits.  A totem pole he carved for the museum was later moved to Camp Phillips.   After filling the Historical Museum with his work, he branched out all over town, painting murals and creating sculptures in banks and schools all over town.  And he also created two of this town’s most famous unknown pieces of public art.

In 1976 Schoenberger created “Wenebojo” for the plaza of what is now the First American Center.  This towering copper sculpture is no longer there, but it can still easily be seen.  It was moved (I don’t know when or why) to NorthCentral Technical College, where it sits in their inner courtyard.  Unfortunately, there is no marker or plaque on the sculpture, so it is likely that most, if not all of the students at the Tech have no idea who made the piece or where it came from.  I hope to be able to answer some of those questions and post the answers here.

Schoenberger’s next creation of public art, in 1979 for the City of Wausau is also no longer in place.  Rumor has it that the pieces of the sculpture are still in storage in a large garage somewhere, but it has been years since it was removed.  “The Pinery” featured a number of  utilitiy poles  at odd angles at Stewart  Park on the banks of the river.  Apparently it was quite controversial at the time, which is a good thing in art, but is now mostly forgotten, which is a bad thing.

For all the large works of public art that Schoenberger worked on in this area, his most lasting legacy is actually a chimera,  a seemingly insubstantial work that arises suddenly and just as suddenly is gone for another year.

Ed Schoenberger conceived of and helped organize the first Wausau Festival of Arts.

Wanting to bring together the artists of the community like he had seen in larger cities, Schoenberger brought together the first Festival of the Arts on the grounds of the Yawkey house in 1965.  In many ways, his vision continues to shape the festival to this day.

That first festival not only featured artists displaying and selling their work, but also entertainment, children’s art actvities and food sales for charities.  It may have been small (42 artists who sold $600 in art, according to Schoenberger’s notes) but the elements were all in place.  By the 5th annual show in 1969, the Festival had grown to the proportions it continues to enjoy today with 120 artists displaying their work and 10,000 people attending.

So, when you come downtown in a few weeks, remember to thank Ed for awakening the artistic soul of our town.

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Senator Clinton Comes to Wausau

I will have much more to say later, but I thought that at least I should get the pictures up that I took today. I pulled rank and identified myself as belonging to the press at the rally today, but only got the good pictures when I went up to the seats where I probably would have been sitting anyway.

I’ll put one picture here and the rest on the Flickr site. Tomorrow, hopefully after a good night’s sleep I will post some commentary on the visit.

Hilary takes a question

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]

Sledding, sledding, sledding

Even though it has been ages since I have posted here regularly, people seem to find the blog on Google. And the number one search term for the last week or so has been “sledding.” Wonderful! But where the heck are all you people?

I have been sledding a few times with the kids over the past 10 days or so, and while we are out on the hill, basically there is no one else out there. Is there some kind of virtual sledding experience I have missed somewhere? Go on out and hit the slopes.

Since it is not immediately obvious where this information is on the County Parks and Rec website, here are the “official” sledding hills at the Wausau area parks:

SLEDDING HILLS

Sledding areas are open as soon as snow cover permits. Two hills have lights for night use. All hill close at 11pm (when parks close). There is no charge to use these hills.

  • Pleasant View Park; 1221 Sumner Street (lights on hill)
  • Riverside Park; 100 Sherman Street
  • Schofield Park; 606 E. Randolph Street
  • 3M Park; 405 Park Blvd (lights on hill)

You may have noticed that I did not include the Sylvan Hill Tubing facility.  First of all, it has its own page on the Parks site, so you can find it more easily, but secondly I am not a big fan of fun that you have to pay for and then stand (or sit) in line.  Nothing wrong with that kind of thing, just not my cup of tea.

My personal favorite sledding hill is Pleasant View Park, where we spent some time night sledding a while ago (one of the lights is misaligned so there is a huge dark patch as you go down — add to the fun!) and had a blast. I have been told by a long time resident that this hill used to a ski hill with a tow rope and everything. It is nice to dream about that tow rope as you trudge up the hill.

But here is the deal people. I need every single one of you to go sledding between now and Saturday. I need all of you, your kids and your neighbor kids to head up to Pleasant View Park and sled for hours and hours and hours. Especially you grown ups. Especially you Wisconsin sized grown ups.

Oh, you say you don’t have a sled?  Worry not!  Just truck on up to Fleet Farm.  The have a huge pile of the plastic “bathtub” sleds.  Nine bucks, holds two kids, goes pretty well on almost any kind of snow.  Can’t beat it.  If you have a big family and a few extra bucks, they have a plastic “luge” that looks like it will hold four people and a dog.  Eighteen bucks.  Cheap at twice the price.  Where else can you have that much fun for a sawbuck?

Now you say, “But Bill, what do you need me for?”  Because it is true, I need you and I need you badly.   You see, this last snowfall, the beautiful light powder that it was, is not the greatest for sledding. Piles up in front of the sled and slows it down. So, I need all of you to pack the snow down between now and Sunday. So that on Sunday afternoon, the kids and I can whiz down the hill with the greatest of ease.

I am counting on you Wausau, I know you can do it!

Watch this Space

Well try to anyway.  It would seem that circumstances that necessitated my moving away from blogging our fair city may once again be changing.  I think that very soon, I will be in a position to begin, once again to make daily posts here.

I think for the sake of my own sanity this will be a solo effort this time.  That is to say there will be no regular contributors, other than myself.  If you wish to comment that would be great.  If you feel you have a one time story to tell — please feel free to email me — and I will check it out and perhaps tell the story here.

Wausau is a great city in a wonderful place.  Yes, it certainly has its drawbacks, like any other city, large or small (I sometimes say would be a perfect planet — if there were no people on it.)  But for the most part, as I have in the past, I am going to choose to focus on the postive, the beautiful and things that work.  There is lots of that here.

I especially look forward to just walking around with my camera again, I think I miss that most.

If you get a chance, tune back in, I hope that you will enjoy your stay here.

Oh, and if you are just finding the blog, feel free to nose around the archives, once in a while something interesting bubbled up and some very good people contributed many good ideas.  They are still good and might just be something you can use today to make this place just a tad better.

Thanks for reading!

Blogging for All — Last Add

Apparently there is going to be another story about Citizen Wausau in tomorrow’s Herald.  And also apparently there is going to be some quotes from me in the article, or at least I heard the tapping of keys in the background as I was talking. 🙂  I have no idea why I was interviewed this time, I have nothing to do with CW and the story of how CW has come into being has already been told by them, me and Pat Peckham.  But for the record, I will say one last time what I have pretty much said in every interview about both CW and the Wausaublog.

Get your own blog.  It is simple and free here on WordPress.  But please, don’t just sit in your basement in your pajamas and spew opinion strung together with internet links.  Well, OK, you can do that if you want, it is a free country, but I don’t find that very interesting or beneficial.

Get out and do something.  There is TONS of stuff going on around town.  People are working with charities, creating art work, mentoring kids, putting on plays, dancing, playing music and on and on and on.  There is no way that any one person or even news organization can cover even a tiny percentage of these things.  But you can.  You are doing them or know who is.  Buy a cheap digital camera, take some snaps and write a little tidbit.  Citizen journalism.

I would love to see 50 blogs of Wausau, or even 5,000.  I am glad to see CW up and running finally, but will be even more impressed when YOU have a blog.  Just get out there and do it.  It will be good for all of us.

And this is the last thing I am saying about this.  Really.

Unidentified Dudley Object

So, L and I were driving back from the Wisconsin Englishes presentation at UWMC when she turns to me and says, “Do you see that?”

I did indeed. And I took pictures of what we saw. They are NOT photoshopped, if anything, the colors look even richer to the eye than they do to the camera.

Makes for an interesting skyline, that is all I have to say.

Click on any or all of the thumbs for the larger image, but you get the idea.

UDO 7 UDO 6UDO 5UDO 4

UDO 3UDO 2UDO 1