Most of the Wisconsin Avenue sculptures heading home for the season

Two pieces will remain until next year and be joined by different sculptures

Zach’s Tower by John Henry, a sculpture featured during last year's event.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:12 pm

The life-size sculptures that have graced Wisconsin Avenue in Downtown Milwaukee since June are being shipped back to their collectors.

But the city will have two sculptures to remember the inaugural project over the long winter, and different sculptures will be on display next year along the street.

Zach’s Tower by John Henry

Zach’s Tower by John Henry, a painted steel three-dimensional piece on loan from Works A Gallery in Chattanooga, Tennessee will remain through 2018.

It can be found at the  southeast corner of Fifth Street and Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center Hotel.

Tower (Gubbio) by Sol LeWitt will also remain. The piece was commissioned for the XXIII Biennale in Gubbio, Italy and is on loan from the Pace Gallery in New York. It can be viewed at 310 W. Wisconsin Ave., on the east side of The Blue.

The sculptures were chosen partly because of their exuberance but also because the businesses nearby wanted them to stay, said Marilu Knode, project manager for Sculpture Milwaukee.

Knode did not say how much keeping the sculptures for the entire year would cost.

“The entire project is paid for by the generosity of Steve Marcus (Marcus Corp. chairman) and the donors who contributed,” she said.

Tower (Gubbio) by Sol LeWitt

Three of the sculptures –  Will Ryman Rose, Deborah Butterfield Big Piney, and Michelle Grabner’s Untitled work – have been sold to buyers who wish to remain anonymous.

Knode said a small portion of the sales will be used to support Sculpture Milwaukee next year.

“They are tiny amounts relative to the over all budget,” Knode said. “Like any non-profit arts initiative, Sculpture Milwaukee relies on the fund-raising activities of its founder and partners, with contributed funds providing the bulk of the monies to make the project happen.”

Over the next two weeks, the remaining sculptures will be removed and shipped back to Chicago and the east and west coasts where they will go back to the galleries and collectors they were borrowed from, Knode said.

Sculpture Milwaukee was the brainchild of Marcus, who worked on the idea for more than two years.

“It went very well,” Knode said of the five-month long event. “The public reaction was very enthusiastic and we had great feedback from our partners and the business owners. It was a really big initiative to get people to come downtown and see art, not just at the museum but along Wisconsin Avenue.”

Knode said new sculptures will be back on Wisconsin Avenue in the spring of 2018, although exact locations have not yet been determined and the art will be different.

“There has been new construction, the Northwestern Mutual building is now available, and we want to surprise our audience with different sites and different pieces,” Knode said. “We’re just so thrilled to have all of the positive support and the business owners really helped look out of the safety of the artwork.”

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