20 Poems Project

About the Project

How do we write about experience? Capture the feeling of a place? A local history? The 20 Poems Project—an initiative by Reedsburg ArtsLink—sets out to install 20 unique poems on structures throughout Downtown Reedsburg. A mix of published as well as original poetry, submitted by Reedsburg community members, will offer diverse perspectives and expressions of small moments in our lives. Taking direction from our community, ArtsLink aims to distill the essence of life in Reedsburg through poetic verse, whether written by a 16th-century poet or a fifth grader from Pineview Elementary.

Individuals with strong ties to Reedsburg are invited to submit poems, or excerpts of poems, of 15 words or fewer for consideration, through January 30, 2019. To learn how to submit, please click here.

Twenty poems will be selected to appear hand-lettered onto surfaces Downtown, and become part of an ongoing Poetry Scavenger Hunt. Maps will be available at the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce in the summer of 2019.

In addition to the open call, poems are being gathered through a series of free poetry workshops led by Madison-based poet Katrin Talbot. Talbot—who will curate the final selection of 20 poems alongside a panel of local writers and readers—is engaging poets of all ages within the Reedsburg community, from high schoolers to senior adults.

Additional honors for the authors of the selected poems will include the opportunity to present your poem during a public reading of the 20 Poems at the Reedsburg Public Library during Poetry Month and a special invitation to the Public Dedication of the 20 Poems Project in early June of 2019.

The 20 Poems Project is a Reedsburg ArtsLink initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, email Joann Mundth at Reedsburg ArtsLink: [email protected].

Wisconsin Arts Board
A picture of Madison-based poet, Katrin Talbot leads a poetry workshop for the 20 Poems Project in September with students from Ms. Carey's English class at Reedsburg Area High School.
A picture of Madison-based poet, Katrin Talbot leads a poetry workshop for the 20 Poems Project in September with students from Ms. Carey's English class at Reedsburg Area High School.


~ Madison-based poet, Katrin Talbot leads a poetry workshop for the 20 Poems Project in September with students from Ms. Carey's English class at Reedsburg Area High School.

A picture of Lettering artist, Morgan McArthur will hand letter poems onto structures in Reedsburg's downtown.


~Lettering artist, Morgan McArthur will hand letter poems onto structures in Reedsburg's downtown.

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Ahuchoga: Blue Wing’s Legacy Project

In the summer of 2016, ArtsLink partnered with the Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF, Wisconsin Dells) for Ahuchoga:  Blue Wing’s Legacy Project.  The central activity was to create a community mural inspired by an important historical event in Reedsburg. In 1873 members of the Reedsburg community gathered at the depot to stop the relocation by federal agents of all Ho-Chunk including the beloved chief, Ahuchoga, or “Blue Wing”, and his family.  It is believed that this action may have contributed to ending the US Government’s inhumane relocation policy.

The Ahuchoga: Blue Wing’s Legacy Project was crafted to encourage cultural education and exchange. Supporting activities included educational programming at the Reedsburg Public Library, a Native Art Market in Harvest Park and a pop-up gallery featuring the work of First People’s Fund Fellow Wesley May. It was supported with a generous grant from the First Peoples Fund, with additional support from the Sauk County U.W. Extension Arts and Culture Committee and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.

Interpretive Information

The symbolic mural depicts Chief Ahuchoga’s legacy as a kind and gentle man that has brought people together from the past, present and future.  Ahuchoga, which in English means “Blue Wing” is drawn out in feathers and within each of the 12 feathers are the clans of the Ho-Chunk.  These keep the Ho-Chunk centered on who they are as human beings.  At the heart of the mural is the symbol for Ahuchoga.  Ancient rock writing found in Wisconsin inspired this symbol which also appears on the Blue Wing memorial marker at the Blue Wing Cemetery in Tomah, WI.  Extending out is a red banner, symbolizing the blood that is the common tie among all human beings.  On the right side of the mural is the traditional home of the Ho-Chunk and on the other is an empty train leaving Reedsburg.  The handprints found in each corner represent the community coming together to commemorate this historic event and our shared connection to Mother Earth.

Descendants of Chief Ahuchoga, project organizers & members of the community gathered at 300 Vine St to dedicate a community mural honoring his legacy on Oct. 8, 2016. First Peoples Fund Fellow, Wesley May – Red Lake, MN, Ojibwa. Photo by Bill Schuette
Photo of Ho-Chunk Chief Ahuchoga. Source unknown
The Reedsburg train depot scene from the independent film ‘”Thunder in the Dells” produced by Lance Tallmadge.
Ho-Chunk youth visiting from Tomah, WI practice their painting skills prior to helping complete the Community Mural.
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The Red Piano Project

Red Piano 2
The 2013 Red Piano was featured in an alfalfa field located on the the Don and Dorothy Harms family farm on County Road S.

The Red Piano Project began as a stop along the 2013 Farm/Art DTour. ArtsLink adopted a turn of the century upright piano, tuned it up, painted  it bright red and placed in an alfalfa field adjacent to a cow pasture on a county road along the DTour route.  After the 10-day DTour, the piano was donated to Aunt Ozie’s Cafe, a Loganville-based business supporting live music.

Similary, ArtsLink featured turn of the century uprights on the 2015 and 2016 DTour routes that were also donated to local businesses that support the arts. The 2015 piano was donated to Reedsburg’s Touchdown Tavern, and the 2016 piano went to The Branding Iron in Lime Ridge.

The Red Piano Project was generously sponsored each year by Able Trek Tours, Reedsburg, WI.


Branding Iron owners Lisa Buttonow and Steve Fearing toast their newly adopted Red Piano.
The 2015 Red Piano was located adjacent to woodlands on County Road PF near La Rue.
Local musician and keyboard instructor Shawndell Marks and her students took turns playing carols on Touchdown Tavern’s Red Piano during Reedsburg’s annual Living Windows event.
The 2016 Red Piano was featured in Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area
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The Ruminant / Harvest Park Project

Ruminant, an ode to agriculture, is a John Deere combine outfitted with 34 stained glass panels created by Minnesota artist Karl Unnasch. Originally a temporary installation along the 2013 Farm/Art DTour route, a group of Reedsburg citizens decided the sculpture was important, and that it should remain in the community. The group also turned the lot into a new park, called Harvest Park, and dedicated Ruminant to the City of Reedsburg in 2014. The Ruminant /Harvest Park Project was Reedsburg ArtsLink's first major initiative.

For more information about the sculpture, and for descriptions about each panel, visit the Ruminant Project website or the Ruminant / Harvest Park Facebook page.

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