Wausau Festival of Arts

September 6-7, 2008

Ed Schoenberger, 1971 August 23, 2008

Filed under: Ed Schoenberger — wausaufestivalofarts @ 5:33 pm


ETS and the FOA August 22, 2008

By Bill Coady posted on the Wausau Blog August 22, 2008

Unfortunately, “Edward T. Schoenberger” is not a well known name around town, or at least not as well known as it should be.   There are no streets named in his honor, no schools or really anything as far as I can see.  His two largest works, if not entirely forgotten are no longer in their original locations, other works by Mr. Schoenberger are gone forever, like the man himself.

Ed Schoenberger was first and foremost an artist, working in a wide range of mediums.  One common thread to his work is that he had a knack for creating larger than life works of public art.

He started on that path in his native New Orleans during the Great Depression, painting a mural on the history of printing for the New Orleans Public Library as part of the Works Project Administration.  When World War II came along, Ed  found himself in the Army Air  Corps, but even in a time of war, Ed’s talent could not be denied and he again created larger than life murals, this time for US military bases.

After the war he headed for the East Coast where he worked as a designer for several companies.  With his cosmopolitian background: art schools, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, it might seem strange that he would up spending most of his life in Wausau.  But he did.

Succumbing to the pleadings of an old army buddy, John Stoutenburgh, Ed took a position as assistant director of the Marathon County Historical Society in 1957.  I wish that Ed were still alive so I could find out what exactly Stoutenburgh might have said to entice Ed to drop his East Coast life and come to Wausau.  Must have been powerful stuff.  Schoenberger spent 50 years in Wausau, until his passing in October of last year at the age of 92.

Schoenberger might have had a job title that indicated he was some kind of historian, but no matter what the title, he was first and foremost an artist.

His art projects and murals filled the Yawkey House with educational backdrops for the exhibits.  A totem pole he carved for the museum was later moved to Camp Phillips.   After filling the Historical Museum with his work, he branched out all over town, painting murals and creating sculptures in banks and schools all over town.  And he also created two of this town’s most famous unknown pieces of public art.

In 1976 Schoenberger created “Wenebojo” for the plaza of what is now the First American Center.  This towering copper sculpture is no longer there, but it can still easily be seen.  It was moved (I don’t know when or why) to NorthCentral Technical College, where it sits in their inner courtyard.  Unfortunately, there is no marker or plaque on the sculpture, so it is likely that most, if not all of the students at the Tech have no idea who made the piece or where it came from.  I hope to be able to answer some of those questions and post the answers here.

Schoenberger’s next creation of public art, in 1979 for the City of Wausau is also no longer in place.  Rumor has it that the pieces of the sculpture are still in storage in a large garage somewhere, but it has been years since it was removed.  “The Pinery” featured a number of  utilitiy poles  at odd angles at Stewart  Park on the banks of the river.  Apparently it was quite controversial at the time, which is a good thing in art, but is now mostly forgotten, which is a bad thing.

For all the large works of public art that Schoenberger worked on in this area, his most lasting legacy is actually a chimera,  a seemingly insubstantial work that arises suddenly and just as suddenly is gone for another year.

Ed Schoenberger conceived of and helped organize the first Wausau Festival of Arts.

Wanting to bring together the artists of the community like he had seen in larger cities, Schoenberger brought together the first Festival of the Arts on the grounds of the Yawkey house in 1965.  In many ways, his vision continues to shape the festival to this day.

That first festival not only featured artists displaying and selling their work, but also entertainment, children’s art actvities and food sales for charities.  It may have been small (42 artists who sold $600 in art, according to Schoenberger’s notes) but the elements were all in place.  By the 5th annual show in 1969, the Festival had grown to the proportions it continues to enjoy today with 120 artists displaying their work and 10,000 people attending.

So, when you come downtown in a few weeks, remember to thank Ed for awakening the artistic soul of our town.


Festival Volunteers

Filed under: Festival Info — Lisa Downing Coady @ 12:52 am
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Thank you to the following individuals who are staffing the information booth and acting as booth sitters and block captains:

John Baker

Patty Baker

Lynn Eby

Cathy Evans

Larry Goetsch

Jean Graef

Jane Heilman

Sue Leider

Holly Martin

Sarah Miller

Barb Peterson

Margaret Preisig

Cathy Rohling

Sara Roquemore

Norita Schottler

Sue Schraufnagel

Bev Smith

Joan Steinlage

Linda Toner

Mary Wittich

Diane Yunek

Each year we receive an overwhelming number of positive messages complimenting our outstanding volunteers. Your time, talents and overall commitment to the Festival are a large part of why it is called one of the country’s best! 

We hope you will be able to join us again in 2009!

Thank you again,

The Wausau Festival of Arts Board of Directors


Artists’ Awards Banquet August 20, 2008

Filed under: Information for Artists — wausaufestivalofarts @ 7:20 pm
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A cherished tradition of the Festival of Arts in the Artists’ Awards Banquet, attended by the artists, their guests and the festival board and committees. In addition to great food, cash awards are presented to artists.

The professional judge for 2008 is Jane Weik.

The awards are as follows:

1. Best of Show – the Ed Schoenberger award – $1,600

2. Nine cash merit awards – $550 each

3. Five cash merit awards for honorable mention  – $125

4. Award for best work donated to the Silent Auction for Scholarships – $75

5. Award for best work donated to the Young Collectors’ Mart – $75  

6. Two student awards: $300 for first place and $200 for second place.


Festival of Arts Past Presidents

1965 Ed Schoenberger

1966 Robert Moulton & Ed Schoenberger

1967 Robert Melang

1968 John Madigan

1969 Dick Seagren

1970 Bill Moy

1971 John Forester

1972 Linne Forester

1973 Peg MacCarthy

1974 Peg MacCarthy

1975 Mary Clare Freeman

1976 Bonnie O’Connor

1977 Linda Ware

1978 Brenda Herman

1979 Peg Mallery

1980 Mary Roberts

1981 Tom Lattimer

1982 Judy Prange

1983 Bill Tolly

1984 Leslie Forester

1985 Sandy Lindell

1986 Lynn Drecktrah

1987 Judy Beier

1988 Chris Bremer

1989 Jean Tehan

1990 Ginger Alden

1991 Patrick Bradley

1992 Mary Jo Freemen

1993 Kathleen Grant

1994 Karla Kurtz

1995 Linda Grilley

1996 Patrick & Lynne Lattimer

1997 Patrck & Lynne Lattimer

1998 Melanie Lenard

1999 Sarah Hull

2000 Sarah Hull

2001 Todd Nicklaus

2002 Todd Nicklaus

2003 Teresa Stieber

2004 Teresa Stieber

2005 Dean Koepke

2006 Bill Greenwood

2007 Lisa Stahl

2008 Lisa Stahl


Silent Auction

Place your silent bids for fine art generously donated by participating artists. You will find the tent on the 400 Block. Bidding starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 6 with bids starting to close at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 7th. You need not be present to win.

All proceeds go toward student scholarships.

Congratulations to the 2008 receipients!


Hope Behneke, D.C. Everest High School

Beth Koeppel, Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School

Jacqueline Rheinschmidt, Newman Catholic High School

Mary Thoa, Wausau West High School

Elizabeth Wenzel, Stratford High School

Tracy Wilichowski, Marathon High School

Lue Yang, Wausau East High School


Katie Skerven, University of Wisconsin – Marathon County


Jurors August 15, 2008

Filed under: Jurors — wausaufestivalofarts @ 3:57 pm
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Jurying for the 2008 Festival was held on Sat., March 29, 2008 at the Marathon County Library. Thank you to our jurors:

Nanci Doerring

Suzanne Jolin

Tasha Tatro

Randy Verhasselt

Jane Weik