APPLETON, Wi. (WBAY) – A new sculpture in Appleton is turning heads in intrigue, disgust, and everything in between.
“This particular piece we wanted to see it up close so we could really see the details. I think it’s beautiful,” said Mitzi Wilkerson.
“There’s a lot of little kids that live in these surrounding houses that are terrified of this, it looks scary,” said John Bunks, who lives across the street from the sculpture.
“It wouldn’t be my favorite piece,” said Barb Lu Maye, who also lives nearby. “But I love the idea of all different kinds of art in the city.”
“The Collective” is a sculpture of a large head made up of tiny faces, all created with old propane tanks. Whether someone loves or hates the piece, it’s caused a lot of conversation. The artist, Paul Bobrowitz, says that’s kind of the point.
“Art is out there to get people thinking, feeling, get them to react to it,” said Bobrowitz. “If art doesn’t get a reaction from a person then it’s missed its mission.”
Bobrowitz says The Collective represents, in part, all the influences that have shaped who he is. It was placed off College Avenue for Sculpture Valley’s ACREofART exhibition which rotates in new sculptures around the city every two years. Out of 55 entries, The Collective was the highest ranked piece by the competition’s judges.
“If Sculpture Valley was only putting out, you know, eye candy pieces of bright colorful artwork no one would stop to talk about it we’d drive by and say ‘That’s pretty,’ and that would be the end of it,” said Sculpture Valley Executive Director Alex Schultz. “But here’s a situation where we’re having a conversation about what this piece means to individuals.”
People living nearby argue they should’ve gotten some notice before the sculpture was placed there.
“I think most of the surrounding area here supports art, and we like conversation,” said Bunks. “But we just think this is inappropriate for the place and we should be consulted as tax payers.”
Schultz says The Collective’s placement was approved by the city during a months-long process. But there’s been so much feedback Appleton’s Municipal Services Committee will meet this month to discuss potentially moving it, and to make changes to the approval process in the future.
“The city will be adjusting the policy to include a notification form that will go out,” said Schultz. “At least to give people a heads up that ‘Hey, we’re going to talk about art that might be coming to you neighborhood.'”
Schultz hopes the new process will help get more people involved in the exhibition and in and Sculpture Valley itself.
In the case of The Collective, regardless if it stays or moves, it’ll keep people talking.
“I see both sides, I celebrate both sides,” said Bobrowitz. “I’m glad that people are talking about it.”