Traveling exhibit plans Clear Lake stopWhen librarian Cricket LaFond learned that Clear Lake was going to be one of only six small communities in Wisconsin to host a Smithsonian traveling exhibition, she was delighted.
By: Kaye Bird, New Richmond News
When librarian Cricket LaFond learned that Clear Lake was going to be one of only six small communities in Wisconsin to host a Smithsonian traveling exhibition, she was delighted.
When she began looking through the materials arriving from the Smithsonian, the significance of this event became evident.
“I had to start thinking outside Clear Lake because this is bigger than our town,” she said.
Truer words were never spoken. This is big, and for west central Wisconsinites wanting to see this impressive exhibition, a trip to Clear Lake is their best option.
The exhibition, called, “Between Fences” looks at the impact of land use and fences in the history of this country. It will be on display at the Clear Lake Area Community Center from April 12 to May 24. It then moves north to Cable—its final destination in Wisconsin.
The Clear Lake Area Community Center in collaboration with the Clear Lake Public Library and the Clear Lake Museum was selected by the Wisconsin Humanities Council to host “Between Fences.”
The process of being “granted the grant” began in February of 2006 when LaFond was looking for grants to fund the library. She came across one being offered by WHC. The grant was called “Hosting Between Fences—A Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition.”
LaFond and Community Center volunteer, Pat Spoentgen, realized very quickly that involvement in this project would be a lot of work. The grant had to be completed by March of 2006. In May they learned that Clear Lake had been selected as a site for “Between Fences.”
Materials began arriving, and then more materials arrived. Both women have been in a training program since April of 2007. In September they helped set up the first exhibition in Waupaca, Wis.
“The exhibition comes in crates that you have to pack and unpack correctly,” said Spoentgen.
“Between Fences” consists of an entrance gate and five kiosks of varying sizes. The exhibition comes in 15 crates that can be transported in one 24-foot space (trailer or truck back).
She added, “There are very specific directions for set up.” There are also very specific guidelines determining what communities are awarded this coveted grant.
Those who were successful had to demonstrate to the Smithsonian that they had the necessary community support. This is essential because the Smithsonian provides no money; the grant money will help, but additional funds are needed and this money has to be raised by people in the community.
“An organization receives the honor of hosting the exhibition, but no money comes with the grant,” LaFond said. “Pat and I have written many grants and are still raising funds to help support the hosting of the exhibition and the ancillary events.”
In addition, they were asked, “What can you do to make this exhibition special?” In other words, what will the community of Clear Lake do to attract out of town visitors?
Just seeing the displays will be worth the trip, but organizers had to demonstrate that the time period from April 12 through May 24 would be filled with activities designed to draw people to their town.
On April 12, opening night, the Lions Club will host their annual Rib Fest. A barn dance featuring the local band, Duck for the Oyster will follow. The Clear Lake Community Theater will perform Oklahoma. It opens on April 18; six performances are scheduled.
But it doesn’t stop there. Book discussions, a book talk by award winning Wisconsin author, Jerry Apps, a visit by the Surly Surveyor, Rob Nurre and a question and answer session by Polk County Master Gardeners are also on the schedule.
What promises to be an impressive display of pictures comparing the changes in local land use from 200 years ago to today is also in the works. The Midwestern Regional Wisconsin Photographic History Project will open on April 20 and continue for the duration of the exhibition.
Lest anyone think this six-week event will only attract adults, think again. The Clear Lake Public Library applied for and was awarded $3,500 to partner with the Clear Lake Junior/Senior High in creating a display called “Between Fences: Structural Change in Clear Lake.”
“Students have chosen a local home, business, or landmark and created a photo/narrative display that depicts how these have changed since the creation of the community of Clear Lake,” LaFond said. She added that the project has been a “wonderful bringing together of the generations.”
And then there’s the Teen Poetry Reading/Slam scheduled for April 26. Winners of the countywide Poetry Contest will be reading their poems; this year the contest was expanded to include fourth graders.
On scheduled days, the Community Center will be holding a garage sale to beat all garage sales. Prices are more than reasonable, and with the number of items for sale, customers are sure to find what they were looking for.
May 17 will bring the Indianhead Barbershop Chorus to the community center’s gym.
To volunteer, contact Cricket LaFond at the Clear Lake Library (715-263-2802) or e-mail email@example.com.
For more information about the exhibition, visit www.fencesatclearlake.com.