I had read about Fred Smith’s concrete folk art and knew it was located somewhere in Wisconsin. It was purely by chance when we were driving down State Highway 13 and Finn says, “Look at that!” and I realized we were passing right by the artist’s park. We were so lucky to stumbled upon this amazing art exhibit and immediately turned around to check it out.
Fred was a retired lumberjack who built his house, barn and tavern on property he homesteaded in 1903. When he started making art in 1948 he was 63 years old. In the next 15 years he would create over 237 sculptures using concrete embellished with broken glass and other found objects. Fred passed away in 1976 at the age of 89 and his art has been restored and preserved through grants and private funding in Wisconsin.
The park is packed with sculptures and in a beautiful, rural area of Wisconsin. The adjoining gift shop was closed when we visited which was disappointing because I believe they sell art and crafts by local artists as well as park souvenirs.
We were fascinated and impressed by the sculptures and I was thrilled to happen upon this great preservation of American folk art.
See more photos after the jump …