Art Unveiling at Southern Door

Students and artist-in-residence create permanent art displays

The May 11 unveiling of a large outdoor sculpture designed by students celebrated more than just one work of art at Southern Door school.

Thanks in part to fundraising through an annual haunted house led by volunteers and art instructors, the district had an artist-in-residence this school year for the first time since 2011. That artist, Rob Soukup – the creator of the ship-themed fountain in Sturgeon Bay’s Graham Park near the Oregon Street bridge – helped to lead high school students as well as skilled community volunteers in completing the new, permanent artwork outside the school’s auditorium. 

(From left) Southern Door artist-in-residence Rob Soukup and Southern Door art instructor Barb Schriner-Schmitt. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Soukup – along with art instructor Barb Schriner-Schmitt and Jared Nellis – taught district students new things about sculpture this year, with Schriner-Schmitt shepherding an art project near the auditorium entrance and Nellis planning a sculpture for the “school woods” outdoor classroom.

The sculpture unveiling was just one part of the district’s first school-wide art fair, which was intended to display artwork by every student in the Eagle Gym hallway. The two artist-in-residence sculptures were in front of the auditorium and inside the lobby. A portion of the event also recognized the retirement of Schriner-Schmitt, who has been a Southern Door art teacher for 24 years.

The Story of the Sculptures

All photos by Rachel Lukas.

“Learn to Soar”: the outdoor COR-TEN steel sculpture

The first figure is a detailed silhouette and an open book, representing the start of learning. A musical staff begins with a few notes of the school song; then as the staff turns, the notes change to images drawn by elementary students of what learning looks like. A high school design team worked with artist Rob Soukup to create the model to guide the creation of this artwork.

The musical staff continues to surround the figures. As the figures swirl around and grow larger, they become more abstract, representing how individuals become more than what they look like on the outside, growing through knowledge, collaboration and creating. At the swirl into the center, the figures reach up joyfully and meet an eagle wing, ready to graduate and soar into the world.

“Learn to Soar II”: the indoor mobile sculpture

The musical staff continues inside the auditorium entrance, this time swirling around a kinetic sculpture. A design team of middle school students worked with artist Rob Soukup to design this artwork. Each of the five wing shapes contains copper disks embossed by middle school art classes and the design team. They represent major areas of learning at Southern Door.

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