Sculpture Tour finds new home on Water Street - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sculpture Tour finds new home on Water Street

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Eau Claire's sculpture tour embraces water street this spring as you may notice along either side of the street.

Sculptures are beginning to line the sidewalks on Water Street as this years' sculpture tour prepares to kick off.

"As part of our natural expansion we always dreamed of bringing it to Water Street.  This is maybe sooner than we thought.  This is actually being forced by the construction of Barstow this year," says Sculpture Tour committee member Jon Thorpe.

Water Street businesses were very willing to host the annual expression of art.

"I think it's fun.  I think it supports the arts, it supports people walking around and getting out in town and just having something to look at," says waitress manager Kathryn Kokkila at The Nucleus on Water Street.

It might also draw people into the door of a few businesses.

"Hopefully, it's a big pig, so maybe it advertises that we've got good bacon, which we do," says Kokkila.

"There are verifiable numbers of more people who come to Eau Claire because of Sculpture Tour.  So it's not just an enhancement of the city if you're coming here anyway, but it's actually a good driver of economic development to have this," says Thorpe.

Brightening up the streetscape does have its risks though, with vandalism an unfortunate thought on organizers minds.

"There has been some vandalism that does occur.  We have been remarkably light on that issue," says Thorpe.

"That's not totally unexpected.  We'd rather not, but you know, we're on Water Street," says Kokkila.

That's why the sculptures are placed under or near existing security cameras and under the care of sponsoring businesses.

"The businesses must help out by keeping the snow cleared off the sculptures and kind of checking them to make sure they're ok everyday," says Thorpe.

Because it's also an investment by the business to add some beauty near their front door.

"Loved it downtown, spent a lot of time walking around looking at the statues down there, so now it's on Water Street closer to me so that's great," says Kokkila.

This is the third year of the sculpture tour in Eau Claire.

The official launch of this years' tour is May 7th and that's when the final sculptures will also be placed on Water Street for their 11-month to one year stint on the sidewalk.

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