Celebrating the arts and outdoors

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Port’s Gallery 224 partner to highlight importance of preservation efforts, artists’ work with ARTservancy project

ARTIST CYNTHIA LORENZ prepared to take some underwater photos at Huiras Lake in the Town of Fredonia Monday as part of her ARTservancy project. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Artist Cynthia Lorenz was at Huiras Lake in the Town of Fredonia Monday afternoon, getting some underwater photos for a shot-motion animation project she’s working on.

“I’m kind of experimenting with that right now,” she said of her underwater photography.

Lorenz is creating her artwork as part of the ARTservancy project, an initiative between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.

The year-long project is intended to create a broader awareness of the properties the Land Trust is preserving and the value of its conservation initiatives and to serve as a celebration of the arts.

Lorenz, who grew up in the country but now calls Milwaukee home, said she applied for the project because she appreciates open spaces and what they add to life.

“Living in the city, I really appreciate places I can escape to and take walks,” she said. “I think it’s really important to protect our natural resources.”

While preserving natural resources and conserving land is the goal of the Land Trust, many people in Ozaukee and Washington counties aren’t aware of all it does, said Tom Mlada, director of development for the Land Trust. 

He noted that in its 26-year history, the organization has protected almost 7,000 acres via 32 preserves and 52 conservation easements.

“These are open to the public free of charge for recreation and reflection,” Mlada said. 

In pondering how to raise awareness not only of the preserves but also of the Land Trust’s mission, Mlada drew upon his experience as Port Washington’s mayor and the Letters to Sassnitz project it sponsored with Gallery 224 when Port adopted Sassnitz, Germany, as its sister city.

“What better way to engage the public than through art?” Mlada said. “My vision was to invite artists to spend time on the Land Trust preserves and lands through all four seasons, and document what they see through their art in a year-long program.”

He presented the idea to Gallery 224 Executive Director Jane Suddendorf, who he said “ran with it.”

Suddendorf said the decision to sign on to the project was easy.

“We both believe in what the other is doing,” she said. “They want to give what the Land Trust does more visibility. I’m always looking to give what the artists do more visibility.

“And we’re always looking for new way to catch people’s imagination.”

In this case, the Land Trust selected a dozen properties, then the Gallery sent out applications for artists to apply to do a project for a specific site.

“We wanted the artists to connect to the site personally,” Suddendorf said. “The thing that drew artists to the sites varied — woods near the house where they grew up, or an old stone building, or a side of the water.

“If you were to visit any of the properties, you would see they have distinguishing features, but these artists have distinguishing features too. They have a variety of approaches and ways of looking at their art.”

The artists who were selected for the 12-month residency work in a variety of media, including three-dimensional work, painting, print-making, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, pinhole photography and multi-media work.

They have been asked to work on their project throughout the year, documenting their process along the way, whether by journaling, sketching, photographing or via some other process.

They have also been asked to do some public work at their sites, Suddendorf said, and during these events the artists could show off what they’re doing while the Land Trust could provide information on why the parcel is so special.

These events and the artists’ documentations will be part of a blog that’s being set up for the ARTservancy project. The project also has an Instagram account that has “quite a following,” Suddendorf said.

“This will be a year-long process of discovery,” she said.

  Mlada agreed, saying that is part of the goal of the program.

“Part of what we wanted to do is have this feel like a year-long journey that will culminate in a September 2019 exhibit,” he said. “These are artists who have a relationship with their medium, who have a confidence and rapport that translate into their work.

“I’m so excited about this. We really want people to understand how special these places are, and to appreciate that we have these places where you can go that are close at hand and where you can take a walk and reunite with nature to get a sense of renewal and peace.”

The artists and the preserves they are working at are: Rise Andersen at Sauk Creek Nature Preserve in Port Washington; Nicole Shaver at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in Belgium; Cynthia Lorenz at Huiras Lake in Fredonia; Gina Litherland at Bratt Woods and Chris Hewitt at Kurtz Woods Natural Area, both  in Grafton; Michael Bunton at Kratzsch Conservancy in Newburg; Todd Mrozinski at Fellenz Woods in West Bend; Hal Rammel at Riverbend Conservancy in Trenton; Patricia Mattingly at Donges Bay Gorge and Brooklyn Henke at Spirit Lake, both in Mequon; Andre Musil at Cedarburg Environmental Study Area in Cedarburg; and Dave Niec at Lake Twelve in Farmington.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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