April 21, 2010

Sculpture embodies Racine's past, present and future

Mayor John Dickert, surrounded by 4th graders whose poems inspired the artists
The river rushes
In nature it freely flows
Creating beauty.
--Achintya Krishnan, 4th grade

Racine got a new piece of public art today, one with roots firmly planted in the city's past, present and future.

The sculpture, called Dawning, shows a phoenix rising. It was dedicated this morning alongside the Root River, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The city's past is represented by the sculpture's location, in the Sixth Street Bike Path Overlook, a gift to the city from the Downtown Rotary Club, which had it built in 2005 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International, whose founder -- Paul P. Harris -- was born in Racine.

The city's present is represented by the sculpture's creators, students from an eight-week welding bootcamp presented by the Workforce Development Center. Its concrete base was constructed by more students, from the the First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program.

Fourth grader Achintya Krishnan reads the haiku he wrote

And the city's future is represented by the fourth graders of Jefferson Lighthouse School, who wrote the poems that inspired the artists to create the sculpture in this form. The specific poem considered most inspiring was written by 9-year-old Achintya Krishnan, whose proud mother Anandhi was at the dedication this morning. Achintya  was called upon to read his haiku to the crowd attending the sculpture's dedication, by Mark Mundl, of the Workforce Development Center. He also had his picture taken with Mayor Dickert. But his longest-lasting honor was having his poem engraved on the sculpture's base, where it will be displayed ... forever?

Dawning was designed by two artists, Nathaniel Hunter, above, and Bruce Niemi. The project got its start about 18 months ago, when Ben Lehner wrote a grant application for a piece of public art. Money came from the Wisconsin Arts Board, but this collaborative project also involved UW-Parkside, Gateway Technical College, the Racine County Workforce Development Center, and Racine Unified School District.

The sculpture is across Sixth Street from the REC -- the Root river Environmental Education Community Center -- where every fourth grader in Racine Unified receives environmental education each year.


  1. What a wonderful project! Both the sculpture and the haiku are beautiful and inspiring.

    Congratulations to everyone involved--sculptors, students, Downtown Rotary and especially Achintya. We will enjoy its beauty whenever we ride on the bike path!

    Francie McGuire Winkler & John Winkler

    PS Great coverage by the Racine Post!

  2. Hey Achintya,,,,

    Congratulations.... thank you for letting me know about haiku... .... hope to see you in many more articles....

    Very Proud of you


  3. Excellent!

  4. Adam's Dad4/21/2010 6:53 PM

    A Geography Wiz AND a Poet. Well done!

  5. Excellant job Achintya.

  6. hai Achintya
    GREAT............. we are proud of u.

  7. Two creative and inspiring works of Art. beautiful sculpture and a wonderful haiku. Congratulations to WDC students and Achintya. Great job.

  8. Deepa & Karthik4/21/2010 10:52 PM

    Achintya, we are very proud of your accomplishment and the creativity. Look forward to greater things from you in the years to come. Kudos.

  9. singu thatha & Dhana Patti4/21/2010 11:38 PM

    Hi Achinthya,

    You have not only made proud of your kith & kin esp your Patti & thatha (grand parents) but All Indians, whose heritage is to spread the gospel of universal love to the entire world.I pray Almighty to Bless you with all qualities to further the very good first step you have taken keeping in tune with our great tradition which will result in Happiness and joy to entire mankind "Sarve Jano Sukhino Bavanthu"

  10. Looks like two statues in the first pic!

  11. I am glad to hear we got grant money. Congrats to everyone involved, but especially Ben Lehner who wrote and got the grant approved.

  12. Ravi Uncle, Jaya Aunty & Anju4/22/2010 9:18 PM

    Wonderful Achintya. We were so proud of you.

  13. Wow!! Thats great! Congrats achintya. Hats off to Anandhi and Krish too. Achintya now has something in the city to show his grand chldren. We are all proud of you.
    Vaidu, Sahana, Maya, Uma, Sundar, Sita patti, Sanjeevi thatha.

  14. Vichu Mama & Suju mami4/23/2010 11:50 AM

    Congratulations Achintya!
    We are all very proud of you.
    Keep up the good job going!!!
    Good Luck!

  15. Congratuations and special thanks to the GTC instructor and students at Gateway Technical College and Workforce Development bootcamp for taking that inspirational poem and creating such a fine piece of art. Special thanks to all. D Frazier

  16. Achintya is in my class he said he was just thinking of things that are beautiful in nature.