In 2007, the Wisconsin Arts Board's Percent for Art program commissioned six photographers to create portraits of contemporary Wisconsin workers. The artists—Dick Blau and Tim Abler (Milwaukee), David Heberlein (River Falls), John Shimon and Julie Lindemann (Manitowoc), and Jamie Young (Madison and Syracuse, NY)—created a poignant meditation on the nature of work and the impact of the contemporary global economy on Wisconsin labor. While the project was not intended to be encyclopedic, the resulting photographs reflect the impressive diversity of Wisconsin's labor force, from heavy industry to agriculture, tourism, small business, government, and more. This exhibition featured about 40 images selected by the artists. All of the over 200 prints and accompanying field notes from the original Percent for Art project are available to researchers through the Wisconsin Historical Society's Visual Materials Collection.
This traveling exhibition was organized by the James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in partnership with the Wisconsin Arts Board. The show opened at the Wriston Art Center Galleries at Lawrence University, Appleton (October 29-November 23, 2010) and will travel to the Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee (September 23- November 6, 2011). It is sponsored in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission. Additional support was provided by Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.
What are the odds? Gallery set to open photo exhibit on Wisconsin labor Friday
(Gayle Worland, Wisconsin State Journal, February 17, 2011)
At Work, in Katie Vaughn's Liberal Arts blog
(madisonmagazine.com, February 23, 2011)
Wisconsin ironworkers take center stage at labor exhibit
(Samara Kalk, Wisconsin State Journal, March 7, 2011)
Plain Talk: Photography exhibit tells state's labor story
(Dave Zweifel, The Capital Times, March 7, 2011)