Veterans Art Exhibit

Art; so much more than just “pretty”
Twenty veterans from all over Wisconsin had their talents on display at The Highground Learning Center. Some of them have always had a given talent for what they do, some picked up a form of art as a pass time, while others found it to be part of their saving grace. The arts; no matter what form, can be and are a healer, up-lifter and strengthener or our minds, bodies and spirits.

As part of The Highground’s mission of healing and education, we officially opened the Veterans Art Exhibit on Saturday December 14, 2013, with an open house where we had 3 veterans on grounds demonstrating their talents to the public.

Veteran, James “Jim” Hoefler of Watertown, WI is a woodcarver. He began carving in 1991, and is now holding classes to teach others how this craft is done. In his classes you will not only learn the fundamentals of woodcarving but you will also learn how to make each piece “your own”. Jim has a way of showing you how it is done, but also somehow teaches you how to put your “feelings” into it. He does carvings for others and it is amazing how he can make each piece personalized just for you. He has a beautiful collection of work; if you are in the Watertown area you should check out his classes and his collection.

One of our volunteers and a Vietnam veteran, Hiram Cutting; also of Watertown, WI is also a woodcarving hobbyist and one of Jim’s students. Hiram started woodcarving about 12 years ago and says that it is so relaxing and is such a good stress reliever, that he finds himself working on his carvings almost daily. He will pull it out while he is listening to a football game or instead of watching some program on TV. Hiram says he works with a lot with Basswood as it is a light wood that is easy to carve, especially the intricate details of facial features. Hiram also noted that this is a craft that you can learn from every day. With each new carving he learns a new technique or “sees” a spot that needs just a little more detail pushing him to achieve another goal.
Local artist and veteran, Wendell Ziegler of Neillsville, started “turning” wood on a lathe as a hobby. The beauty of all the different species of wood and the things you can create from them fascinates Wendell. He states that he can start turning a piece of wood with one idea in mind and then “the unexpected beauty that you find causes you to change your mind so you can save that beauty”. He prides himself on being creative and exploring new designs or functions. Wendell turns everything from toy tops to elaborate vases and bowls. Wendell enjoys taking his beautiful art to shows, where he is also blessed with making a few extra dollars to put in his pocket, all from doing something he loves.

Other artist’s on display included: Kirk Rodman – Stained Glass, Patrick Loftesness – Print work, Castanie – Drawing, Danno – Drawing, Frank Thomas – Drawing, Tom Miller – Drawing/Painting, William Phillips – Painting, Marathon Venture Academy Students – Sculptures(done for our veterans) and 10 others that would like to remain unnamed.