Dan Wilson Milwaukee Wisconsin Visual Communications audio sound video film freelance location manager production manager

submitted for (and rejected by) the Lincoln Park Percent for Art Program (November 2008)   Home

Project Proposal

As an artist born and raised in Milwaukee, I am very familiar with our Park System and have enjoyed its benefits for my entire life. From early memories on the playground at Wahl Park to fireworks at Grant Park and hikes in Riverside Park, I have always enjoyed utilizing the Parks. I am passionate about storytelling and I want to explore the stories that Lincoln Park has to tell. From its prehistory as part of a Silurian reef, to a part of the Green Bay Pioneer Road in the 1800s, to its incorporation into the Milwaukee County Park System and subsequent years of enjoyment by the citizen of Milwaukee, a rich body of stories, real and imagined, are waiting to be told.

My experiences with both filmmaking and photography give me a unique perspective on storytelling, able to negotiate a story timeline in both still and moving images. I propose an installation based upon a series of twelve photographs, each telling a different one of these Lincoln Park stories. Each will be staged with professional actors and appropriate props, carefully and deliberately constructed. These stories will be real and imagined, whimsical and hyper-real, thematically organized around use of the park’s land throughout history and into the future.

As examples:

The photographs will be displayed in individual kiosks distributed throughout the park. As homage to the parks’ history, design and materials will echo the extensive construction which took place as part of the WPA in the 1930’s, and exists today in the park’s existing signage. My intention is to place these items throughout the park in public areas and along trails, near where the photographs are made, but fully accessible to all park visitors regardless of ability. This plan, of course, is subject to the placement limitations outlined in the RFP and infrastructure limitations (e.g., underground utilities).

Each photograph will be accompanied by interpretive materials that offer historical perspective and involve viewers through interpretation or posing rhetorical questions. These materials will suggest additional elements of the story not explicitly illustrated in the photograph, allowing the viewer a richer experience with which to create additional layers of the story for him- or herself; inviting the viewer to explore the time and space outside the frame. Interpretive materials will be provided in Braille for visually-impaired visitors, and an artifact from the photo shoot (e.g., limestone from the Silurian reef, a casting of a baseball from the ball diamond, etc.) will be mounted to the kiosk as an added textural element.

While the sizes of the kiosks will vary slightly based on the size and shape of the display panel, they will average seven feet tall and four feet wide. Two 6”x 6” columns will support a small gabled roof. The columns will be set in concrete in two holes in the ground. Between the two upright columns will be a 1.5” thick wooden panel, cut in a shape which echoes other signage in the park. It will be painted brown to match the park’s existing signage. Photographs and interpretive materials will be printed using a dye-sublimation process directly onto durable aluminum plates. The aluminum plates will be mounted directly to the display panel using tamper-proof screws and/or bolts, and, where appropriate, covered with a protective sheet of lexan or plexiglass to protect the plates from the elements and vandalism. Steel brackets will be used to bolt the display panels to the upright columns on at least four points at a comfortable viewing height for both children and adults. Again, tamper-proof hardware will be used where appropriate.


The public will be encouraged to interact with the kiosks by their specific placements in high use areas along trails, at picnic areas, near the pavilion, pool and ball diamonds subject to restrictions noted in the RFP. Specific placement of the kiosks will be determined during subsequent site visits, in consultation with park personnel.

I am excited about the opportunity to explore Lincoln Park’s stories and to share those with the public in this installation.