Friday, October 16, 2009

Epicenters of creativity in WI on a fall afternoon.

So, I am in my car on my way home from my new found tax person, listening to the final installment of "Death in a Prairie House" on NPR, driving past three major creative displays. Just makes me think how wonderful and diverse creativity is.
First I go past Taliesin, the "Shining Brow" of Frank Lloyd Wright, the bastion of Prairie Style architecture, the love nest of he and his illicit affair, the Hillside School, or the scene of Wisconsin's most notorious mass murder - depending on how you want to look at it. Any way you look at it is a beautiful setting actually enhanced by the buildings set into it. It must have been quite the scene back in the early 1900's when FLW and his entourage were interacting with the locals. It has been and continues to be an internationally recognized epicenter of creativity and attraction - based on the creative vision of one man.

Down the road is Alex Jordan's House on the Rock. When I was a kid, my father worked with Mr. Jordan on planning the highway access to this site. It was just a house back then, admittedly a spectacular and peculiar house, but a house. We went into it and wandered through the rooms, sat on the rocks/chairs, marveled at the water features and admired some of the unique, but tasteful adornments scattered through the rooms. It has come a long way since then! It is now an almost indescribable … event… attraction… monstrosity… curiosity - again you can pick the category depending on your viewpoint of the attraction and of Mr. Jordan. It is also an epicenter of creativity and attraction - based on the creative vision of one man.

If you the go south to a small town named Hollandale, you will find Grandview. Nick Englebert was a dairy farmer who evidently had too much time and creativity to just sit on his porch in his down time. His yard became a sculpture garden of delights. He erected a variety of mosaic and concrete sculptures that expressed his love of his new homeland, some political commentary and general beauty. I would guess that his wife had a hard time keeping dishes in the kitchen, based on the number imbedded into the concrete! This is an example of my favorite type of art. Art that was made just because the maker had to make it. No gallery, no stylistic movement of followers, no intent for commerce. Just the base love of creation and the absolute inability to avoid giving into that urge. Koehler Co. “discovered” Nick and has elevated his art to gallery status. Much of it now resides in the Koehler art gallery and the originals on the lawn have been replaced by reproductions. I like the remnants of the originals that remain - weathered and disintegrating - but where Nick intended them to reside, surrounded by his land and home and the grass and flowers.It is the third [and my favorite] epicenter of creativity.

Now I will go home to my little epicenter and get back to work - rejuvenated and rejoicing in the number of forms and functions creativity takes.

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