Past Connecting Communities

SIDEWALK STORIES

FEBRUARY–MARCH 2008 and APRIL–SEPTEMBER 2009

Sidewalk Stories was designed to bring both communal and individual histories to life through public art. The collaboration was led by artist and experienced interviewer Anne Wallace. The first phase of the project took place in February and March of 2008, when Wallace and folklorist Norma Cantú held oral history/creative nonfiction writing workshops for community collaborators to learn the art of interviewing. Meanwhile, eight open studio sessions were held for individuals to participate in by recording short oral histories and creating line drawings inspired by all the oral histories and old photographs of the area.

During the interim, Wallace perfected a typesetting system with movable type held in place by sidewalk-sized metal grids used to create text impressions in wet concrete. The Arts Center worked with the City of Sheboygan and identified General King Park as an ideal location for the project.

In April of 2009, Wallace returned to Sheboygan to reconnect with the participants, and she returned again in June to test the typesetting system by stamping three sidewalk squares at the Arts Center. In August, the line drawings were sent to Flux Design to have rubber stamps created that would be used on the sidewalks. Finally, from September 8–18, 30 panels were stamped with short excerpts from the contributed stories that illustrated the diverse experiences of the area.

Connecting Communities collaborations are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bert L. and Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust.