September 19, 2011

Art in the Outdoors

Three places to enjoy fantastic fall color and beautiful art

Per capita, Wisconsin might have more artists than any other place in the Midwest. There’s something about the varied landscape of the Badger State that inspires artists. Many of these artists create work that melds with their local surroundings.

When fall transforms the Wisconsin countryside into a colorful work of art, it’s the perfect time to visit the state’s most interesting outdoor artwork. This fall, these three outdoor collections will give you a whole new view of Wisconsin.

West Bend Sculpture Walk

West Bend Sculpture WalkFine art has a strong presence in West Bend. The community is home to the Museum of Wisconsin Art, which houses the largest collection of art by Wisconsin artists ever assembled. So, it isn’t surprising that this charming community in southeast Wisconsin is also home to one of the state’s most interesting collections of outdoor art.

The West Bend Sculpture Walk links more than 25 outdoor exhibits of modern sculpture. The sculptures are set along West Bend’s scenic Riverwalk, which follows the course of the Milwaukee River. The collection includes works by local artists as well as artists from around the country. With the backdrop of autumn leaves, the sculptures take on a whole new aspect.

Black River Falls’ Historic Murals

Black River Falls Historic MuralsBlack River Country is one of the most unique regions of Wisconsin. Not only is the landscape unique, so are the people and their stories. The historic murals displayed throughout downtown Black River Falls celebrate the leaders, heroes and eccentric characters that built the communities of Black River Country.

The murals are the work of local artist Susan Sampson. She brings to life figures from Black River Falls’ past, showing them with their tools, their livestock, their friends and their creations. You’ll see murals depicting the cranberry industry, dairy farms and deer hunting. The images are fun and sometimes even moving. If you are interested in what makes small-town Wisconsin tick, you don’t want to miss these murals.

Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines

Dickeyville Grotto & ShrinesAlong the Wisconsin Great River Road, in the tiny town of Dickevville, you’ll find one of the Midwest’s most amazing examples of folk art. The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines is located on the church grounds of the Holy Ghost Parish. It was created between 1925-1930 by Father Matthias Wernerus, a Catholic priest and pastor of Holy Ghost Parish.

Materials for the grotto include everything from colored glass and fine porcelain to sea shells and petrified wood. It’s an incredible sight to behold. Wernerus centered his elaborate work of art around two main themes: love of country and love of God. You’ll see these ideas interwoven throughout the main shrine.

Get the latest articles

Learn about the best things see and do in Wisconsin right now! Provide your email address below to sign up for the FREE Wisconsin Travel Best Bets e-newsletter.