Monday, October 7, 2013

The Wiegand Foundation - “Recognizing Giving Through Art”

By Brittany Ricker
Located on One Wiegand Drive, Chesterfield, MO sits a 4th Dimension Sculpture, a place you must experience firsthand in order to truly understand this particular art studio.  Most sculptors’ end creation is typically 3 dimensional works of art. One Wiegand Drive has a unique additional dimension – many refer to it having soul, life force, feeling or energy field. It is the dimension you experience when you physically enter the sculpture…probably one of the hardest feelings to ever describe.
Photo by author: Everything- even down to the dumpster. It has a purpose and a meaning.  It all fits in to tell his story.  This was one of my favorite views to even begin to convey the feeling I felt.

            I have been asked by numerous people: what’s your favorite building, what places have you visited that really stick out in your mind…how did you feel? I have never really been able to say with confidence a particular building or space that really astounded me…. Yes I have been inside some remarkable spaces as far as design goes..but nothing that really left me speechless. To be honest I didn’t think it was possible -- I thought I didn’t have it in me to feel that connected to a space.  It was not until I visited Don Wiegand’s Studio that I could finally say with confidence…that this was a place I will remember forever – in great detail … I maybe took a total of 5 pictures …. Because I was too busy looking at every single aspect of this sculpture. I will say that I am extremely lucky to have been able to visit this studio with a few people that were very close with the sculptor so before we even arrived I heard stories from the past…which was interesting.

            Don Wiegand’s studio is unique in that for 50 years this creation, rooted in Gumbo Flats, has taken its fourth dimension not just from the soil but from those who, while visiting, have left something of themselves behind. For thousands it has been a signature in a guest book. For others it has been a musical instrument – a piece of furniture – a story, song, or conversation – All which represent the personal yet VERY public response interaction with the sculpture and sculptor. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to actually sculpt with Don Wiegand himself – which will be displayed in the Bush Library after completion. Another strong aspect that is seen and felt when visiting this studio is the amount of public interaction encouraged throughout the entire studio inside and out. There are running paths that go through the space – Don Wiegand has come outside to see people eating lunch/dinner in the area provided in the “backyard” – Weddings have even been held here.
Photo by Gary Ricker

I’ll be honest … I used to think people who talked about spaces that “changed their life” or views on life were crazy and just thought they were exaggerating and a bit obnoxious. I have not explained Don Wiegand’s art studio or him as a person, well at all because I simply cannot find the words to describe it. Also trying to express to some friends in architecture studio that they have to visit this art studio …. I got the blank stare and crazy look from them… which used to be the other way around. Some pictures below are from my personal visit that I wanted to share.

Photo by author
Photo by author: Tucked away in the sleeping area is a water spicket and a hot plate integrated into the design.  

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