Select Page
Colin Dickson constructs

Colin Dickson constructs "Double Arrows"

Colin Dickson ’08 (Sculpture) and Christopher Willey ’04 (Drawing) are two of eight lead artists for the 2011 IN:Site temporary public art project “On and Off Capitol.”

Formally opening June 25 and extending through the summer, In:Site features art about environmental issues and infrastructure needs in Milwaukee’s Century City Area. It is sponsored by the 30th Street Industrial Corridor Corporation and Business Improvement District #37.

Dickson’s project, “Double Arrows,” comprises nine sculptures of colorful intersecting arrows 10 feet tall that will “enhance City of Milwaukee planters used to filter and direct storm water along 27th Street north of Capitol Drive,” said Pegi Christiansen, IN:Site chair and site manager.

Dickson, who was a studio assistant for renowned public artist and MIAD professor Jill Sebastian, is a successful exhibiting sculptor.  He in turn worked with several MIAD students on the project. 

“The arrow concept came from two things,” Dickson said. “I reflected on the construction of the home and the importance of structure in community. The arrows point not just to the planter box itself, but also to the community surrounding it.

“My intention is to beautify pre-existing structures while drawing attention to the necessity of water filtration. It is not to identify the community though the artwork, but rather to ask that the community use the work to help redefine itself and benefit from it. I am excited that the wood will eventually be repurposed as actual planter boxes.”

“People Trees,” Christopher Willey

“People Trees,” Christopher Willey

Willey, a member of MIAD’s faculty and exhibiting artist, worked closely with the community to create “IN:terruptions” and “People Trees.”  The former is a series of 79 images for the doors and windows of 12 boarded-up homes on and near Capitol Drive.

“The idea was to interrupt the dumping, squatting and stripping of materials that happens inside a boarded house through beauty,” Willey said. “I worked with the community to feature colorful, highly patterned images with a bright silhouette of the animals that litter entices.”

“People Trees” is a billboard project that is a collection of trees made from the wrinkles in the palms of people’s hands.

“A tree is a symbol of strength, and it is organically rooted to a community,” said Willey. “The hands are from 12 volunteers that I worked with at a community meeting who live close to the actual site of the billboard on W. Hopkins south of Capitol Drive. The concept is to show that the community holds strength in their very own hands.”

The formal project opening will be held Saturday, June 25, at Vanguard Sculpture Services, which is owned by MIAD alumni Beth Sahagian and Michael Nolte at 3374 W. Hopkins Street. Tours with the artists will be held from 4 – 5:30 p.m. A reception featuring the artists’ sketches and models will be held from 5:30 – 7 p.m.

IN:terruptions, Christopher Willey

IN:terruptions, Christopher Willey

For more information and a map about “On and Off Capitol, the artists and IN:SITE, visit