Member Spotlight: Public Arts Initiative of Egg Harbor, WI
By Emily Santeler, UW-Whitewater/Arts Wisconsin intern
The Public Arts Initiative of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin has been promoting public art in community spaces around the village in new and exciting ways. The organization’s mission is to “develop, promote and expand the public art experience in the village of Egg Harbor.” They are doing just that through sensational displays of high-quality art as part of their Create! Wisconsin Sculptors and EGGstravaganza programs, adding to the already beautiful views that can be found in Door County, and further contributing to the county’s tourism industry, which welcomes nearly 4 million visitors each year.
PAI was created in 2010 by the Village of Egg Harbor as an advisory committee, and recently gained its 501(c)(3) non-profit status as an independent organization. Board members are all village residents and include artists, business owners, marketing and advertising specialists, and educators. They bring a variety of experiences, expertise and perspectives to their mission and vision. In addition, the Egg Harbor Village Administrator, Ryan Heise, and Deputy Administrator Megan Vandermause, advise PAI.
In partnership with the Village of Egg Harbor, the PAI presented its inaugural Celebrate! Wisconsin Sculptors competition and exhibit during the summer of 2017. This project is all about helping the village become a known destination for public art. Participating sculptors come from around the state, with works placed around the Egg Harbor community. PAI worked with the Public Works department of Egg Harbor, which assisted with the installation of the artworks. There are currently four artworks on display until October 20, 2017 and all are currently for sale. PAI is planning for up to 10 sculptures placed throughout the village in 2018.
PAI’s previous program, EGGstravaganza, brought plenty of additional color and recognition to the village in 2014. Local artists were given 50 large concrete eggs to decorate, which were then displayed throughout the community from May to August. This initiative proved to be very successful both artistically and financially, providing funding towards future public art purchases for Egg Harbor.
There is more to come from the Public Arts Initiative in the next year. Next spring, a public art sculpture created in memory of two Egg Harbor residents will be part of an ongoing beach renovation project. PAI’s Chair, Kathleen Beck, who is one of the founding members, is excited about what is in store for the community “It’s going to be amazing…it’s not a complete project yet but we’re excited about it,” says Beck. “It’s worked out really well with PAI coordinating and acting as the liaison between the donors and the village.” She described the planning of the project as a “positive experience,” and promises a big community celebration when the artwork is completed next year.
In addition, the PAI would like to bring EGGstravaganza back next year, and are working to increase the number of private donors to the public art projects. The organizations plans to continue celebrating public art, the village of Egg Harbor, and the residents and visitors who make it come alive. More info at www.paiofeggharborwi.wordpress.com/.