Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vilas Park's wearable art that welcomes being worn away by playing children

Work in Progress
The "Old Woman Who lives in a Shoe" slide in Vilas Park has long served as a "museum wall" for temporary art that that reaches far beyond the nursery rhyme that inspired it. Unlike most museum walls, it has no "Do Not Touch the Art" signs. The kids playing on the slide wear out the art and it is repainted annually.

It looked different tonight when I passed it on the way home. Sure enough, at the top and bottom you can see an outline of the unfinished mural that is being filled in. A work in progress, caught at the midway-point. Work started today and will be completed tomorrow. Want to help? Madison School & Community Recreation welcomes you to wander on over.
VILAS PARK SHOE PAINTING! It is time for the annual "Paint The Shoe" project! This is a fun tradition to share as a family or for the informal artist! The public is welcome to come and help paint the shoe from 11am-5pm, Wednesday, August 20 & Thursday, August 21
I've always been fond of this slide, a true site-specific work of art that that is playful and interacts in so many ways with its community. And I love the idea of art that welcomes being worn away by playing children. What better way to go could there be?


michael donnelly said...

That's really cool. I've seen the shoe before, but I didn't realize that it was regularly repainted like that.

George Hesselberg said...

It's the Art Cart! Here's a related cutline from 2006. Sorry no photo.

Date: Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Section: LOCAL
Edition: ALL
Page: B1

Lily Brunson (above) 8, probably had no inkling Tuesday she was perpetuating an 80-year-old notion that motion is good for you.

She joined recreators of all ages at Vilas Park to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of Madison School and Community Recreation. MSCR's full-time staff of 50 and part-time seasonal staff of 1,500 -- all those referees and umpires and coaches -- serves more than 80,000 people annually. The heat kept the numbers down for some activities Tuesday, including the walk for 50-plussers, but celebrants partook of games, snacks and, as with Lily, a climbing wall.

There was also a chance to paint a Madison icon, the playground Shoe (right), Formerly Known as the Place Where the Old Woman Lived. The painting is an annual event for Art Cart-led children who knew just what to do.