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Wednesday - December 20, 2017 8:59 am

Could museum house Hiawatha?

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There is much debate in La Crosse about public displays of art. And it seems no matter what is decided about the future of the Hiawatha statue, it will be impossible to please everyone. Some say they are offended by the giant statue in Riverside Park, while others like it, or simply choose to look away. The artist who created the piece did so to honor local native Americans, but some call the piece a caricature, a white man's version of an Indian. The city's Arts Board is being asked to consider the future of the sculpture and perhaps take it down. But as Mayor Tim Kabat correctly points out, no decision will be palatable to all. There is one other idea. Mayor Kabat has put forward the idea of a La Crosse history museum. Presumably the idea is to display items that represent La Crosse's past, but couldn't that include pieces of art as well? The statue is clearly part of La Crosse's history. Granted, it would require a very tall ceiling, as Hiawatha is 25 feet tall. But if we put pieces of public art we no longer like or find offensive in a place where only those who want to be there are exposed to it, would that solve the current controversy?

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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