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Close up detail of sculpture made of Lake Michigan rock, glow-in-the-dark pebbles, glitter grout and resin

Nicole Shaver: Artist in residence at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

July 22, 2019  |  Topics: featured artist

Nicole Shaver is one of 12 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. Each artist has selected an OWLT preserve to spend time in and to engage with. To read more about the artist in residency program, click here.

Artist statement by Nicole Shaver

Tear-drop shaped culpture created with over 2,000 rocks harvested from the shores of Lake Michigan
Geo Egg, Lake Michigan rock, glow-in-the-dark pebbles, glitter grout and resin

Geo Egg is a sculpture created with glow-in-the-dark pebbles and over 2,000 rocks harvested from the shores of Lake Michigan.  Permanently installed at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in Belgium, Wisconsin, the sculpture is surrounded by 116 acres that boasts great ecological value and restorative potential.  

The artist standing in high grass on the prairie at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve with a pond and thunderhead in the background
The artist on the prairie at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. Photo: Eddee Daniel

This site, owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, was previously known as Squires Golf Course and much of its past identity lingers.  The landscaped paths and hills that were historically scattered with rolling golf balls are now safe havens for migratory birds, reptiles and mammals.  

A page of the artist's notebook with a sketch of an egg-shaped sculpture and notes
Preliminary sketch of sculpture from the artist’s notebook

Perplexed by this site’s identity crisis, I imagined creating an object that might be representative of this place.  I pictured lost golf balls in the preserve’s wetland ponds, decaying or somehow magically enveloped by the nature who had taken back her reign.  I envisioned the birds interacting with them, or creating a new species autonomous to this location.  

Then was hatched, the Geo Egg.

The artist, a young woman, with her tear-drop shaped sculpture, entitled Geo Egg
The artist with her sculpture, Geo Egg. Photo: Eddee Daniel
Sculpture sitting next to dramatic building with double row of windows
Geo Egg is located next to the former clubhouse that serves as a Nature Center and houses the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory
Tear-drop shaped sculpture made of glow-in-the-dark stones glowing at dusk
Geo Egg at dusk
Detail of sculpture showing glow-in-the-dark pebbles
Detail of sculpture showing glow-in-the-dark pebbles


Photographs taken during the artist in residency period at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

Billboard reading "Squires Golf Club" in fog
An old farm outbuilding in field with trees in the background

For more information about Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, click here.


Nicole Shaver grew up along picturesque Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. As a child she skipped rocks and watched fishermen gut salmon.  Largely inspired by geology and a contemporary sublime, her work catalogs an imagined space between geographical sites and fantasy.  

Photo of the artist at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve by Eddee Daniel

Shaver received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Iowa.  She has attended artist residencies in Colorado, Iceland, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Vancouver while exhibiting widely throughout the United States and internationally.  Her work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered as well as published in New American Paintings and Studio Visit Magazine.  She currently works out of her painting studio and is an artist-in-residence at Studio 244 in Port Washington. 

Website: – Instagram: @nicolejshaver

This is the latest is a series of featured artists in The Natural Realm, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. An exhibit of the work of ARTservancy artists in residence is scheduled to open at Gallery 224 on September 13, 2019.

All images courtesy of the artist, except as noted.