The Waunakee school district’s performance has ranked it No. 1 in Dane County and among the top five in the state, and now a group of community members want to celebrate its stellar reputation.
Plans are the works to install a sculpture at the Waunakee High School’s Community Drive entrance, creating a legacy of excellence in education.
“It’s a gift that keeps on giving and reminds students and teachers that this community values them and their education,” said Kevin Laffey a Waunakee Public Arts Committee member. Along with Nick and Kevin, Al Dassow, district administrator Randy Guttenberg, Brenda Endres and high school art teacher Kayla Proctor serve on the committee.
Kevin, with fellow committee member Dr. Nick Mischler, discussed the committee’s progress so far and the process of commissioning a sculpture.
Nick noted that the school district’s reputation continues to draw new families to Waunakee; in fact,  it’s the reason he and his wife, Elaine, moved to the community 39 years ago, he said.
“Has anyone not benefited from the school district in Waunakee?” he asked.
When the committee began meeting in 2015, members considered other ideas, such as the now established High School Innovation Center and scholarship. They then considered a major artwork.
In addition to honoring the district’s students and staff, Nick said a unique sculpture would complement the village’s Creative Economy Initiative.
They decided on the high school entrance site because it was a plaza where people congregate, Nick said. At other sites considered along Hwy. Q, a larger statue would be needed to be visible, Nick said.
The committee members have researched the process of finding a sculpture and have worked with the high school’s advanced art students on designs, with seven now on the table.
UW sculpture professors have visited Waunakee, and the committee has met with Tom Garver from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Steve Fleischman of the Madison Art Center about the process of finding an artist. It involves first seeking a request for qualifications then a request for proposals from artists.
They also learned that their budget should be at least $75,000, and have set a goal of $100,000 to include a fee for the proposals along with the commissioned work.
The committee has donated $5,000 to the fund and others have contributed $1,000 so far. Grants have been written to area foundations, and the committee will likely seek contributions from area service clubs.
Nick and Kevin also attended the Feb. 6 meeting of the Waunakee Village Board to ask that the project be considered for the 2018 budget.
While the design for the sculpture has not been decided, Al Dassow described what it would not resemble.
“I can guarantee it won’t be a pile of footballs,” Al said.
A crowd funding site has been set up to collect donations at
Other News:
•Phil Willems presented check to other service clubs that helped with Rotary Lights, including the KC’s, Lions Club, Pay It Forward, Food for Kids and the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Group. A new display was purchased for next year.
•President Travis Heiser presented a $500 check to Project Graduation, a safe party for students on graduation night.
Guests: Rylee Rickett, guest of Randy Guttenberg; Kevin Laffey, guest of Dr. Nick Mischler; Mike Finley, guest of Bob Sachtjen; Adam Bentley, corporate associate (Todd Schmidt); Bill Tygum guest of Brent Ziegler; Mark Weller, guest of Mark McFarland; Judy Wissbrum, guest of club; Dave Blanchard, guest of Mark McFarland.
Visiting Rotarians: Elaine Mischler, Downtown; Doug and Sharon Richmond, Lodi.
Greeters: Feb. 16, Linda Olson and Danny Paul; Feb. 23, Ken Pesik and Jim Pingel; March 2, Bob Pulvermacher and Corey Randl; March 9, Tom Roepke and David Rupp.