A Woodland Sculpture Garden and a Wilderness Walk
April 23, 2023 | Topics: featured artist
Story and photos by Christel Maass
I’m Tellen ya: what surprises! Our early-April excursion to Sheboygan to see the James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden was a day filled with them.
As a Fox Point resident all too familiar with the controversy surrounding access to Mary Nohl’s art environment at the Lake Michigan shore in my community, I thought I’d head north to see James Tellen’s artworks, located in a beautiful setting on the southern edge of Sheboygan. (The Kohler Foundation owns both of these properties.)
Free and open to the public, from a small parking lot off of Evergreen Drive, visitors can stroll along a path to view Tellen’s concrete sculptures, created from 1942 until his death in 1957. These are a few of his enjoyable works:
My husband and I were delighted to discover that the sculpture walk on the Tellen property led to a footpath along the Black River that is part of Balzer Wilderness Park.
Along the river we encountered signs of spring: skunk cabbage emerging along the bank, catkins lengthening, and Canadian geese pairing up on the river.
When we stopped to admire a view of the river, a bald eagle circled above. I thought I heard his wingbeats—or perhaps I imagined it.
During our ramble, we occasionally heard the creaky ancient calls of sandhill cranes and gazed in awe when we saw them in twos and threes winging overhead. Welcome back, I say.
Birds twittered throughout the woodland as we walked along. And, aside the trail, we found a unique face looking our way.
We discovered a few other Sheboygan parks that day—and most of those were surprises too. Stories for another day. Happy spring!
For more information about the Tellen and Nohl properties, as well as the Kohler Foundation’s other preserved sites go to the Kohler Foundation website.
The featured image at the top is “James Tellen’s Goat on a Rock” (foreground) and the “Cathedral” (background).
Christel Maass, a Wisconsin Master Naturalist, loves exploring Wisconsin’s special places, especially discovering wonderful surprises not too far from home.