The library is home to five significant sculptures that reflect a long-established commitment to the area’s cultural life. Read about them here and enjoy them each time you visit the library.
Circle of Friends bronze sculpture by Karen Crain.
Circle of Friends was installed at the corner of Dewey and Eau Claire Streets in July, 2012. It is described by sculptor Karen Crain of Littleton, Colorado, as a tribute to her family and all the books her children enjoyed while growing up. The titles on the band around the piece echo how books encompass our lives and become a valuable part of who we are. The titles on the band include: “Anne of Green Gables,” “The BFG [Big Friendly Giant],” “The Borrowers,” “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM,” “The Secret Garden” and “Wrinkle in Time.” At the base of the piece, on a smaller scale, is a scene of a girl paddling a canoe with dolphins jumping about, inspired by “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” The other side has a vine-covered stone wall with a door that leads to “Secret Garden.”
The sculpture was one of 27 sculptures on display throughout downtown in 2011-12 as part of the first Sculpture Tour Eau Claire. Acquisition of the sculpture by the library was made possible through the efforts of library board member Susan Bruce, who raised generous donations from individuals in the community to keep the sculpture here in Eau Claire to motivate young readers.
Untitled wood sculpture by Michael Christopherson.
The wood sculpture located at the rear of the first floor main stairwell was created in 1973 by Michael Christopherson. The sculpture is made of pine. It was on display in Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia before being purchased by the library.
Christopherson graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture in 1971. He received his master of fine arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1973, and for a time taught art at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He later returned to Eau Claire to manage a machine shop, joining the UW-Eau Claire art & design faculty in 1987.
Christopherson was the 2007-08 recipient of the Maxwell Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship at UW-Eau Claire. He retired from the university a professor emeritus in art & design in 2008.