Gateway to Madeline - Featured Closeup Image

Gateway to the Island

January 8, 2024

The “Gateway” started from a vision of La Pointe Center for the Arts to have a piece of art as a welcoming to the island. In 2018 LPC dedicated $20,000 to the project. Ann Katz, from Create Wisconsin, came to the island and led a couple workshops to help get the project started.

Because LPC wanted to use public land for the project, it was decided to form a town public arts committee. Susan Sabre and Peg Bertel started the formation of the Public Arts Committee. It took several years to find an artist and design for the sculpture as well as a location for the project. The Public Arts Committee led the efforts for additional fund raising to complete the project.

In the fall of 2020, the Town of La Pointe Public Arts Committee solicited proposals for a sculpture design to enhance the beauty and enjoyment of the island. The design criteria consisted of artistic quality, unique style and nature, aesthetics and/or historical significance of art. 

Gateway to Madeline - Full Sculpture
Gateway to Madeline - Lisa Perrin-Kosmo

The design selected was a crane sculpture by Lisa Kosmo, from Two Harbors, Minnesota. The project, for Lisa, was personal, having family connections to the island and being a Red Cliff tribal member. While planning a design, Lisa discovered that the Crane Clan were identified as the founders of the Ojibwe village on Madeline Island.

She decided to use the imagery of Madeline’s father, Chief White Crane rising from the red earth. At the base of the sculpture, Lisa incorporated imagery essential to the island’s history: fur trade (beaver), industry, logging (pine/maple), winter (snowflake), fishing (trout), Native American (turtle/bear), flora (raspberries), reptile (crayfish/frog), and land animal (deer). Lisa worked with North Shore Steel to create this tribute to the Crane Clan.

Images found along the base of the Gateway sculpture.

On July 30, 2022 Madeline Island unveiled its first public art piece commissioned by the town’s Public Art Committee and the La Pointe Center for the Arts. The finished sculpture exceptionally meets the criteria desired.

It provides a beautiful visual statement, carries a depth of symbolism and meaning appropriate for Madeline Island, and honors the White Crane clan and their importance to island history and culture.


PBS North: The Slice | Gateway to Madeline
Gateway to Madeline Dedication

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