EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Dan Ingersoll was working on his sculpture, Ingrain, for a year before it was placed in Phoenix Park this past spring.
"I was interested in doing a site-specific piece for Eau Claire where the concept behind it was an Eau Claire concept," he said.
He said the sculpture's logs represent Eau Claire's logging history; the "V" shape represents the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers, and the opening represents looking to the future.
"With the opening and with the view to the future I would hope we reflect on past practice in terms of how we treat the environment and look ahead to sustainable practices," he said.
The executive director of the sculpture tour, Julie Pangallo, told Ingersoll WQOW would be interviewing the top three artists with the most votes. But during a faux joint interview, she revealed the true meaning of Saturday's meetup.
"Dan, we kind of misled you today," Pangallo said. "We actually brought you down here to let you know you won People's Choice!"
"Oh geez, oh my goodness, wow, that's amazing," Ingersoll exclaimed.
Ingersoll has spent his life instructing art to students, most recently teaching ceramics at UW-Eau Claire. He said he built this sculpture for this specific spot and is glad people voted for it to stay where it is meant to be.
"I'm grateful for the support that this could stay here and become part of the community," Ingersoll said.
"My favorite part is knowing that's a real validation for [the artists]," Pangallo said. "As Dan said, he doesn't really feel comfortable calling himself an artist. Obviously, he's an artist and his piece won this tour by a significant margin."
Pangallo said last year, the winning sculpture won by seven votes, and this year, Ingrain won by over three hundred votes.