After a summer of transformation and hard work, the “Nutcrackers on the Town” have taken their spots in Oshkosh.
The 50 life-sized nutcrackers, many designed by local artists and a few by artists with University of Wisconsin Oshkosh ties, were unveiled at their locations this week.
Sponsored by area businesses, the nutcrackers are part of a public art project that will eventually be auctioned off to raise funds in support of the arts in Oshkosh. The raised funds will benefits the Paine Art Center and Gardens, Grand Opera House and the Fund for the Arts at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.
Dawn Abraham, who works in the financial services office in Dempsey Hall at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, has been working on her nutcracker since she found out she was selected to be part of the project in May.
Her piece, “Regal Reflections,” is covered in gold, blue and red mirror glass in a mosaic style. Abraham does stained glass work and other mosaics as a hobby and also has led a mosaic workshop on campus.
The holiday lights and decorations in the former Hudson’s department store in Detroit were her inspiration for the piece. She said she remembered looking at the window displays with her mother during their annual shopping trip and wanted to capture that mood with her art.
“I wanted it to have the feeling of a kid at Christmas looking at all the shiny decorations and lights,” she said.
Abraham’s nutcracker was unveiled Nov. 8 outside of CitizensFirst Credit Union on Universal Street.
Stacey Cluppert, a 2010 UW Oshkosh alumna, was selected to design two nutcrackers for the project, “Titan Tools” and “Sweet Treats.”
“Titan Tools” was unveiled outside the Pollock Alumni House on campus Nov. 4 and is made of black and yellow school supplies to represent the colors and academic mission of UW Oshkosh.
After the call to artists was issued in December 2010, Cluppert saw that the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association was looking for alumni to design a nutcracker for the Pollock Alumni House, located along Algoma Boulevard.
“I thought it would be such a privilege to be selected to design the UWO nutcracker, so I made sure I came up with at least one idea for UWO,” she said.
Cluppert’s other design was selected to be displayed at Schenck SC on North Koeller Street.
While coming up with the design for the University, she initially wanted to concentrate on major campus events such as homecoming or other sports events.
“I thought of making him look like a football player or basketball player, but then I didn’t like the idea of picking one sport because I wanted it to be more related to education,” she said.
Cluppert used school supplies in UW Oshkosh colors to help the nutcracker maintain the image of a Titan. Some of her tools included black computer keyboard pieces, black and yellow paperclips, black and yellow crayons and yellow pencils donated from an area elementary school.
“With my nutcracker, I wanted to capture the idea that these school supplies are relevant to all ages from kindergarten through college,” she said.
An artist’s reception will be held Nov. 30 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Pollock Alumni House. Cluppert will discuss “Titan Tools” with the community.
All 50 nutcrackers will remain on display throughout the Oshkosh area this holiday season.
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