May 20, 2019
Art on the Trail enters its second year on the Lodi segments of Ice Age Trail’s Lodi Segments. This year, we welcome twenty-five individual artists and groups, displaying beautiful works of art on the Fern Glen, Gibraltar Rock and City of Lodi segments.
This month-long, temporary event held during May is sanctioned by the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Local and out-of-area artists are juried into the event to ensure the art created and displayed is appropriate for the trail and its natural surroundings. Works are spread throughout to ensure the natural integrity of the trails are maintained. They are also spread out to encourage people to wander the trails and perhaps travel a little farther than they have before.
Artists of all ages have contributed works to the trail. Toddlers and parents created small pieces to sprinkle throughout the trail. Several variations of moons are waiting for you to find them. Weavings appear around corners and between trees. Inspirational quotes are bright and cheery, asking you to ponder your place in the world and on the trail. Even eyes ask you to spot them before they spot you. These experiences and more are present to those out for a hike or a simple saunter into nature.
Unfortunately, we have learned of a dissenting opinion to our project. A person or persons has decided that they do not agree with the project. They have likened the work as "trash" on the trail, even going to the effort of displaying their own “critical response” piece on one of the segments.
As organizers, we initially decided that the appropriate path was to allow a dissenting voice to remain in place. While we obviously don’t agree with the opinion, removal of dissent would go against the basics of free speech. And, art – by nature – brings out many differing opinions.
Art is meant to instigate a response.
However, this voice took a cowardly step and vandalized a piece. This person felt his opinion and ownership of the trail was more important and that it was within his authority to vandalize the hard work and creative spirit of a truly wonderful work of art. This person spent incredible energy and time in creating his own dissenting work, work that may have been readily accepted, had the appropriate application channels been followed.
To dissent is one thing; to destroy another’s work crosses a line.
This behavior is not acceptable, and this will not be tolerated. We have contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, and an officer visited the trail segment affected. There will be increased patrols on the trailheads, and if the person is identified, charges will be brought forth.
Art on the Trail is an opportunity to explore the Ice Age Trail and welcome spring. See the beautiful works of art waiting for you until the end of the month. Find little works hidden amongst the trees and expanding greenery. Saunter the trail and find your favorite hidden nooks. Share your positive energy with the trail and celebrate a valued piece of your community.
For more information, visit the Art on the Trail website at www.artontheiceagetrail.org or find us on Instagram and Facebook as Art on the Trail Lodi.
Art on the Trail Coordinators
Kipp Inglis, Dana Slowiak Bloedorn, Bill Welch