Wisconsin Life # 607: Abstract Ambitions

November 1, 2018


Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald explores arts and culture within the walls of the Racine Arts & Business Center. The owner believes the center to be the first business incubator in the nation. An incubator allows small organizations the space and resources to grow into thriving businesses, which is exactly what happened here over the past 100 years. Today, the Racine Business Center houses several artists’ studios, eclectic shops and a manufacturing company.

Artists are also thriving in Hayward. See My Art or SMART is a non-profit that provides support and guidance for people with disabilities through art. Artists are given a platform to display their art online, as well as in local businesses that have agreed to offer gallery space to SMART artists. Artist and published author Shannon Kocka draws inspiration from her daydreams. While SMART artist Giizhik Klawiter creates art influenced by what he sees around him.

For Dan Cornelius, food has always been an important influence in his life. As a member of the Oneida Nation, Dan developed a strong connection with Native American food and culture. A farmer himself, Dan grows many different varieties of corn as well as amaranth, pumpkins and garlic. His holistic approach to agriculture involves sustainable land use, the use of indigenous seeds and participation in seed sharing programs. Dan’s own involvement in agriculture embodies the unique approach with which Native Americans approach food production.

Garrett Debbink uses unique approaches as choir director in two very different environments. Not only does he lead an after-school choir at Jefferson Middle School in Madison, but he is also director of the Madison Maennerchor. After singing pop songs with middle schoolers, he heads to the 165-year-old choir to sing with a group of older men. The choir was founded in 1852 by German immigrants and continues to perform strictly in German.

Mariners Trail is a public recreational path with gardens that runs between Manitowoc and Two Rivers. The five and a half mile trail stretches out along the Lake Michigan shore. On any given day, bikers, inline skaters, joggers and moms with baby strollers can be seen using the pathway. It’s a place where you will often find Judy Corrado who has been supporting the trail since it first opened in 2004. A few years ago, she couldn’t help but notice weeds and invasive species had overtaken the once beautiful berms. She went to the Two Rivers city manager and learned the cost to upkeep the trail had become just too expensive. The next thing she knew, Judy was leading the charge to get volunteers to maintain the trail and beautify the path with flower gardens.


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