Nationally known Wisconsin photographers John Shimon and Julie Lindemann explored their home state’s identity in this Connecting Communities collaboration. This research-driven endeavor included artist talks, workshops, and participatory events engaging hundreds of Wisconsin residents who contributed their own viewpoints and visual vocabulary to the project. The Wisconsin Project culminated in the exhibition WE GO FROM WHERE WE KNOW, which opened October 13 as part of the Arts Center series titled THE OPEN EYE. Below are some of the events in which community members participated in the course of this project.
Artist Talk and Three Sisters Garden Seed Sowing at the Arts Center
Shimon and Lindemann spoke about The Wisconsin Project and the related exhibition prior to the group planting squash, corn, and bean seeds in a prepared plot at the Arts Center. These traditional companion plants grew to climb on a poplar sapling structure the artists constructed with community members.
Community Construction of Poplar Sapling Structure at the Arts Center
Participants assisted Shimon and Lindemann in constructing a sapling structure made from poplars harvested on their farm. The structure incorporated Native American construction techniques and Buckminster Fuller's ideas about “tensegrity.”
Artist Talk and Replica Workshop at Wisconsin Concrete Park, Phillips, WI.
Shimon and Lindemann spoke about The Wisconsin Project and the related exhibition. The artists worked with participants to make miniature replicas of Fred Smith's concrete figural sculptures using Sculpey clay, tumbled glass, and beads.
Studio Portrait Sessions at Shimon & Lindemann's Studio, Manitowoc, WI.
Community members were photographed for free at Shimon and Lindemann’s studio in downtown Manitowoc. Using vintage camera equipment and transparency film, the portraits expanded the artists’ ongoing Real Photo Postcard studio portrait work. Life-size inkjet prints of select images were included in the exhibition at the Arts Center.
Artist Talk and Postcard Modification Workshop at the James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden, Town of Wilson, WI.
Shimon and Lindemann spoke about The Wisconsin Project and the related exhibition and how found images are appropriated and altered to make new works of art. They also presented a workshop on methods for modifying "found" Wisconsin vintage postcards using watercolor paint, erasure, markers, and collage to add a contemporary commentary about “place.”