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Posted: April 14, 2014 New sculptures coming downtown in May: Donations still needed

Downtown Eau Claire will soon be home to a new set of sculptures.  Sculpture Tour Eau Claire Board President Sue Larson said there will be 30 new sculptures this year, which is the same number as last year.

The Sculpture Tour Board is in the process of selecting the sculptures and where they will be placed.  “We’re looking at placing seven on North Barstow Street, seven on South Barstow Street, and five on Water Street,” Larson said.  Others will be placed on the Mayo Clinic Health System Campus.

The mission of Sculpture Tour is to create an interactive community Sculpture Tour to beautify the heart of downtown sidewalks.  “Visitors find personal meaning within each of the sculptures, which have inspired countless photographs, public presentations, and stories,” said Ben Richgruber of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council.  ECRAC recently has partnered with Sculpture Tour to provide administrative support. 

“We’ve been very successful in guarding the interest of the community,” said James Hanke, Sculpture Tour board member. “We’ve been very successful on the sales side, which I think is a positive sign.”

A range of statues were sold the first three years, keeping them in the community. Local businesses sometimes purchase statues or individuals buy them to donate.

Richgruber said over the course of the tour, they have sold more sculptures than other city sculpture tours, “which is great because more artists want to exhibit their work here,” he said.

The large success of Sculpture Tour would not be possible without the help of donors, however. Donating helps cover the cost of bringing the sculptures to Eau Claire, and other fees.

Hanke said anyone can donate to a general fund by going to the Tour website ( and doing so online.  Another, more specific way is to sponsor an entire sculpture.  Hanke said the business name or the individual’s name will then be placed on the base of the sculpture.

A lot can be gained from sponsoring a statue, Richgruber said. Since the sponsor’s name is on the statue for the duration of 48-50 weeks, that individual or business is getting promotion and advertisement.  Radio advertisements and mentions of their name are other benefits of donating.

“Since its founding in 2010, Sculpture Tour has served as a creative catalyst for community building-while at the same time brought people from across the region to visit Eau Claire,” Richgruber said.

One sculpture is selected each year from a four-month long community vote to become the “People’s Choice Award,” which will be purchased on behalf of the City of Eau Claire for a permanent sculpture collection.

The location for the current tour’s People’s Choice Award winner, “A Mother’s Undivided Love,” is still to be determined.

This tours statues will be removed at the end of April, then volunteers will move the granite bases, and new statutes will be placed at the beginning of May. 

If you’d like to donate to Sculpture Tour, or be a statue sponsor, visit the website or call 715-832-2787.


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