In the 608: Art in the PCA inspiring positivity

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – If you’re out and about exploring near the Platteville River, you may come across some unique visual happenings.

Bob Hundhausen is the president of the Platteville Community Arboretum, which recently installed four pieces of natural art along the David Canny Rountree Branch Trail. PCA is the organization that maintains the three mile paved and lit trail. It’s located along the river in Platteville and connects to the bicycle trail to Belmont.

“People really appreciate it,” Hundhausen said. “Every year, our volunteer organization beautifies the trial, keeps it clean, and mows it, and it’s a partnership with the city and local donors. We do trail surveys and we’ve seeing the user-ship of the trail users go up.”

It took about a year of planning for the engagement process, including the support of local non-profit Inspiring Community, Inc.

“It just helps bring the community together and gets them to appreciate their environment and their community,” Angie Wright of Inspiring Community, Inc. explained. “So it helps people as they’re walking, or running, whatever they may be doing, it just provides some interest for them and something to look at, and with the changing of seasons everything looks a little different.”

They intentionally chose this natural art, created from materials from the trail, and art that someday will return to the trail as it disintegrates.

The artist is Bill Mitchell of Lancaster. Mitchell is an artist, landscape designer and woodworker.

“My work has transitioned into this new sculptural work, but it’s always been who I am,” said Mitchell. “My work a lot of times just uses natural materials I find in the landscape, very simple familiar materials. They’re not fussy in that regard. And with that, I can get to the meaning of the work closer without getting distracted by fancy techniques and fancy materials.”

The four installations are called 4,200 stones, The Farm Report, Funnel Vision and CRISPR.

“To see people respond to it, who may not normally engage with art, is pretty cool,” Mitchell added.

To learn more about the Art in the PCA, click here.