Wisconsin's Percent for Art Program was established in 1980 for the purpose of placing artwork in public settings, helping to beautify our public buildings and urban environments, and draw attention to the wealth of artistic expertise within our region.
Under the legislation for the program, two-tenths of one percent of the total construction budget for selected new state buildings or renovation projects is designated for the commission or purchase of artwork. Only state buildings with a high degree of public access are eligible for Percent for Art funding. The Wisconsin Arts Board -- now a part of the State Tourism Board -- is the agency responsible for administering the Percent for Art Program.
As a part of the Wisconsin Arts Board's "Percent for the Arts" program, we have recently selected Wisconsin Artist Steve Feren's iconic and symbolic new art installation entitled "The Life Expressive" to grace the entrance to the center.
In 1879 Ferdinand Cheval, a retired postman in the south of France, stumbled against a stone on his pathway. It was not just any stone, but “one with guts.” Thus started this postman’s dream of building a “Natural Temple” that would lead visitors to the place where the inner and outer world meet.
For the next 30 years this would be his life’s work. Cheval – armed only with a wheel barrow, bucket, and trowel – created a wonder of the creative world.
“The Life Expressive” is inspired by Cheval. It embraces the idea that inspiration and magic are available to everyone, and that hard work is the foundation for creativity to flourish. This work is a celebration of the creative act and the work that makes it possible.
In designing the piece I was attempting to create a bold visual marker through color and light that has a day and night “face.” Through this art work, students and visitors to the campus will be able to locate and identify the Regional Center for Arts and Humanities in the day and in the evening when many events will take place.
I believe this art work will have a broad appeal, will communicate joyfully, and appeal to a broad spectrum of the public, both young and old.
More about Ferdinand Cheval and his Le Palais Idéal (Ideal Palace)
Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) was a postman who built his dream : Le Palais Idéal. An amazing and imaginative castle. Stone by stone, he imposed this harsh discipline on himself to show that willpower could triumph over all manner of physical and mental difficulties, and also achieve a more perfect understanding of the nature of things and the nature itself.
For more information about Cheval and Le Palais Idéal, visit these website informative websites:
For more information about Steve Feren, creator of “The Life Expressive,”
For more information about Steve Feren visit the artist’s website at www.steveferen.com