the process



In cooperation with the La Crosse County Historical Society, students from the Public and Policy History Major/Minor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse have chosen 15 historical objects that were made in La Crosse and represent the community’s diverse history.



Students and community members enrolled in the [art]ifact class at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse each selected one of the 15 objects to research. They are curating the objects, running the PR campaign, developing an education program that features arts integration, and creating interactive activities to accompany the exhibit.



Jurors selected 15 artists from submissions received in response to an open call to artists. Artists working in a variety of media and artistic approaches were chosen.

Selected artists were assigned one of the objects as determined by the jurors, and visited the Historical Society to examine them. Artists were also given research about the object that was compiled by students.

Selected artists have three months to create a new work for the exhibition, inspired by their assigned object and its history. Final work will be displayed at the Pump House’s Kader Gallery in Spring 2016.


February 26, 2016

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Opening Reception & Celebration & Presentation of Artist Prizes

February 28, 2016

2 p.m.

Behind [art]ifact talk: Creative Imperatives
Objects: Camera, Pearl Buttons, Wedding Dress, Bottles
Artists: Jill Rippe, Ingvild Herfindahl, Marcia Thompson, Roger Boulay
Historians: Tami Holtslander, Megan Kautz, Katrina Bjornstad, Jenny DeRocher

March 6, 2016

2 p.m.

Behind [art]ifact talk: Hmong Objects
Objects: Pleated Skirt, Knife
Artists: Lisa Lenarz, Preston Lawing
Historians: Alyssa Spiering, James North

April 3, 2016

2 p.m.

Behind [art]ifact talk: Utility Objects
Objects: Trunk, Cigar Box, Biscuit Tin, Paper Fastener
Artists: Kim Vaughter, Sarah Pederson, Ben Alberti, Martha Schwem
Historians: Terri Karsten, Mercedes Fowler, Andrew Vittone, Gemma Zahradka

April 10, 2016

2 p.m.

Behind [art]ifact talk: Ho-Chunk Objects
Objects: Hand Drum, Lacrosse Stick
Artists: Kate Hawkes, Jonathan Eimer
Historians: Callie O’Connor, Callie Niemi

April 17, 2016

2 p.m.

Last day the exhibit is open to the public

Behind [art]ifact talk: Feminine Objects
Objects: “Leona” Undergarment, Fur Muff, Signature Quilt
Artists: Misha Bolstad, Brad Nichols, Kate Vinson
Historians: Sue Hessel, Ariel Reker, Sam Reinders, Rebekah Bain


The Public and Policy History Major and Minor, housed in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, seeks to work with community organizations in order to promote public history in the region and to train students how to mount professional projects to help with their future careers as historians.
The mission of the Pump House Regional Arts Center is to enhance the quality of life in the region by maintaining the Pump House as a cultural center; and by promoting a wide range of visual and performing arts activities including performance, participation and appreciation.
La Crosse County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, preservation, display, and publication of county heritage.


[art]ifact is supported by the following organizations:

Objects in the exhibit were also sponsored by local people, organizations, and businesses.

[art]ifact is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with Funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Finally, [art]ifact is funded with two UWL Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grants.