History: High Ground Meditation Garden (12 Apr 2006)

Contact:  Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

----Sources: Banner Journal (Black River Falls, WI) April 12, 2006

Anne Jensen sculpture chosen for Meditation Garden at The Highground

A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student’s artwork has been chosen as the feature piece in The Highground’s Mediation Garden near Neillsville, Wis.

Anne Jensen, a senior from Black River Falls, submitted a design for the sculpture to welcome visitors into the Meditation Garden.

"Last year at this time my sculpture professor brought in a letter calling for sculpture ideas to be submitted," Jensen said. "I thought this was a way to make a difference in our world and also to promote the idea of peace in a distressed society."

Jensen’s sculpture was chosen by The Highground after holding the contest calling for a signature sculpture for a specific site. Jensen’s submission was of a stainless steel showing six birds flying upward through a large sphere. The six birds are meant to represent World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Korean War, Desert Storm and the Iraq conflict. She said she felt that her sculpture was a symbol of hope and that the idea would be suitable for the Meditation Garden.

The Highground judges took to the idea right away, Jensen said. "They connected with the sculpture’s suggestion of hope, life-after and release," Jensen said.

Beth Martin, Highground’s legacy stone coordinator, said that Jensen’s sculpture reflected The Highground’s mission of healing and would encourage visitors to reflect and meditate within the rooms of the garden.

After her submission was chosen as the feature, Jensen had to find someone to build her sculpture. It was around this time when a family who had lost their son in the Iraq conflict, came to the The Highground looking for a way to honor him.

Sgt. Andrew Wallace was killed on September 26, 2005, while serving in Iraq. When his family visited the park, The Highground staff suggested sponsoring Jensen’s sculpture. The significance of the dove was personalized for them because doves had been released at Sgt. Wallace’s funeral. Jane Brockman, Wallace’s mother, also said that a dove was found living in their backyard for a while after the funeral.

The Brockman’s decided that they wanted to sponsor the sculpture. "They really felt a part of the sculpture," Jensen said. "It was symbolic, like a new beginning."

Ten days before the sculpture was going to be placed on its base at the Meditation Garden in The Highground, David Marten, a welder from Hallie Welding, who was helping Jensen create the sculpture, said he felt that there was a hole in the center of the sculpture that didn’t look right. After consideration, Jensen said that the hole was the perfect size for a seventh dove. For those involved, it was as though the seventh bird was added to honor Wallace.

The sculpture with seven doves was set upon its base at the entrance of the Meditation Garden February 24, by Wallace’s family, Jensen, and Marten.

Jensen said that the entire experience has been a positive one for her, and she feels comforted by the positive effect her sculpture has had on people’s lives, especially Wallace’s family.

"All people need symbols of hope; they need an encouragement to keep living," Jensen said.

Anne Jensen’s sculpture (pictured below) was placed on its base at the Meditation Garden at The Highground February 24, 2006. The sculpture is the feature piece of the garden.



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