By Anne Morrissy | Photography by Holly Leitner, except Potawatomi Woman (by Lauren Harrigan)
The Geneva Lake area boasts several works of public art, many of which are located in local parks or on municipal land for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. These sculptures often commemorate the area’s history or honor a specific person or group of people, offering the viewer a chance to pause, reflect and appreciate the artistry of the work as well as its meaning. Looking to plan a spring sculpture walk? We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.
POPPIES, LAKE GENEVA
The American Legion Auxiliary in Lake Geneva commissioned metal sculptor John Larkin to create this statue of poppies in Library Park to honor the area’s veterans. Poppies have been a symbol associated with veterans since World War I, thanks to a popular poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written by Lt. Colonel John McCrae. In the poem, the poppies symbolize the blood shed in battle.
POTAWATOMI WOMAN, WILLIAMS BAY
The Williams Bay Women’s Club commissioned this statue of a native American woman for the village’s lakefront path. Artist Douglas Henderson created the tribute to one of the wives of local Potawatomi leader Chief Big Foot. Oral tradition indicates she died during an epidemic in Williams Bay in 1836, and was buried in a grave near the modern-day location of the Barrett Memorial Library.
“THE SURFER,” FONTANA
Jay Brost, local bronze sculptor and founder of Miniature Precision Components Inc., along with his wife, Barbara, a trained sculptor, and local artist Ben Thompson created this popular sculpture of a windsurfer. It resides near the entrance to the Fontana Beach and Municipal Pier.
“THE LAST GLANCE,” FONTANA
Another of the Brosts’ bronze sculptures, Chief Big Foot in Fontana’s Reid Park, honors and remembers the head of the last local Potawatomi Tribe in the area. The Potawatomi lived around the lake for more than 100 years, but in 1836, the U.S. government forced the tribe to move west. This statue depicts the native American chief’s final glimpse of the lake his tribe had called home for generations.