The sculptures are inspired by
the Greek muses of song, dance, comedy, and tragedy and incorporate inspiration
from the Coulee Region, specifically the Mississippi River. The murals, which
are displayed in four sections, are named Soar,
Delight, Despair, and Sing.
Although the murals were installed more than a month ago, they have literally
been kept under wraps awaiting the Nov. 14 ceremony.
The murals, designed by local
artist Jill Rippe, and constructed by Lincoln, Neb., native Jay Tschetter, were
commissioned by the La Crosse Performing Arts Center, under the guidance of the
Exterior Art Committee. The committee, comprised of local arts leaders David
Kilpatrick, executive director of the La Crosse Performing Arts Center and the La
Crosse Community Theatre, Toni Asher of The Pump House, and Lu Cagen of
I.D.Ology, reviewed designs by a number of local artists.
The process began in 2011 when
Jill Rippe was chosen as the featured artist, and the designs were approved and
sent to Tschetter. Tschetter, working in Nebraska, sculpted the design out of
bricks of clay and shipped the completed murals to La Crosse. Tschetter then
installed the murals with the assistance of crews from C.D. Smith, general
contractor on the project.
Construction for the La Crosse
Performing Arts Center began a year ago, Nov. 16. The facility, which is
scheduled to open in January, represents a collaboration between the La Crosse
Community Theatre and Viterbo University. At the time of groundbreaking, it was
announced that the fundraising goal would be for the shell. Since then, the
shell has been fully funded and the campaign continues for the equipment and
the financing of a bridge loan. To date, approximately 88 percent of the entire
cost of the facility and financing has been successfully raised, and organizers
continue to seek donations and pledges to achieve final campaign goals. There
are many ways to participate in the capital campaign, including “Name a Seat”
which gives community members the opportunity to put their name on one of the
seats in the main stage or black box theatres.