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Ice Henge, in Honor of Adam

A year ago I wrote "Twenty things I love about Adam Green" for him as a birthday present. His birthday is today, and now it has been over a year since he killed himself. Many people on the east side of Madison know him as a a jovial character who frequented St. Vinnies and made artwork out of found objects. His collection of Zeppelin paintings were distributed after his death and now hang in homes all over the city and beyond.

Adam was a huge inspiration to me. He lived life artfully and encouraged others to do the same.

#2 on my list of things I appreciate about him is this: I love Adam Green for fascinating on wild ideas. Ideas that are possible but unlikely to be realized, ideas that bust open the fixed sensibility of things.

The photos below of a temporary art piece are for him, because I know he would have appreciated both the ice sculpture and the photos I took. And because I wish I could have a conversation with him about it. We would talk about what made those five guys from Lake Mills do it? And we'd talk about exactly how they made the sculpture, and other things they could do to play more with the concept. 

It is a beautiful and fun piece of winter wonder, and now it, too, is gone.

I've read that it took two days to build after years of thinking, learning to cut ice, and surely many encounters with doubters who questioned the sanity of building something so ephemeral, so useless, so difficult. And then, after a couple weeks of glory, it was taken down. Some worried the heavy blocks of ice would crash down when the weather warmed and possibly hurt someone. 

Because, it turns out, people were flocking to see the thing. When I went, there was a heavy stream of cars parking and people marching on the icy path to snap pictures. My own pictures were taken carefully so they hide the fact that it was so crowded.  

But truly, what I love most about the whole thing is that it was so crowded. Those five guys went to the trouble to put their big idea out there, and people loved it. People flocked to see what they created. Adam would have appreciated that.

I also really want to tell Adam about what I've been working on. It is an exciting collaborative effort for all of us to enjoy this summer. More on this to come over the months, but the end products will include an enhanced landscape on East Johnson Street, a chalk mural I'm designing, and several invitations to hang out with your neighbors in Reynolds Park this summer. Imagining picnics in the park and planters full of flowers is a perfect distraction when outside the weather is starting to get tiresome. 

The project is a collaboration between the Friends of Reynolds Park, the Cap East Business Association, and the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association

The Friends of Reynolds Park is the group I represent and I'm getting to know the other two groups better as we go along. We really all have the same goal: to make the neighborhood a bit nicer through community involvement. 

I'm so impressed by the character of the people involved and marvel at how much each of these individuals gives freely of his or her time and energy. I'm learning from these hardworking, visionary people, many of whom have lived here much longer than I have and whose commitment to the neighborhood has made it all it is today. 

And today, there are many pressures on the neighborhood, in the state of Wisconsin, and in the world, frankly. Still, people impress me. Oh, plenty disappoint me, too. But I learn so much from the ones who have an internal compass pointing them toward community, a generosity with which they share their gifts, and a light-heartedness about it all. 

I look forward to sharing more about the collaboration, and summer fun in the neighborhood, in the next couple months!