The statue of Winona, the daughter of Potawatomi chief Baw Beese, has been sent to the foundry for bronze casting. The final sculpture will be unveiled in Mrs. Stock’s Park this June. Until then, children in the community will have an opportunity to learn about Hillsdale’s history and the Winona statue through a coloring page distributed to local schools and youth councils.
Over the weekend, sculptor and alumna Heather Tritchka went to the Studio Foundry in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked on the details of the wax sculpture made from a mold of the original clay she sculpted in Hillsdale. From there, the wax will be used to form a porcelain mold, which will be used for the final bronze statue.
Hillsdale students will be able to get involved in the Winona statue project while waiting for the statue unveiling with coloring pages distributed to all the area schools. Tritchka said one school, Will Carleton Academy, even wrote her a thank-you note for the coloring pages, which are being incorporated into the school’s art classes. Will Carleton art teacher Sarah Sessions said the coloring pages have been well-received by students, who are able to color them during the free-draw time at the end of class.
Tritchka said the coloring page, which features an image of Winona based off her sculpture as well as some historical background on Winona, will help introduce children to the area’s Native American history.
“The whole idea is just to get the kids familiar with the piece and learn the history,” Tritchka said. “We thought this would be a fun way to introduce this to the kids, through a visual they can color and work on.”
Some students will also have an opportunity to join a student council for elementary schoolers and middle schoolers, as well as an advisory board comprised of five to seven high school students, Tritchka said. The first meeting will be Mar. 23, and will be an opportunity for one or two local students from each school to serve as ambassadors for the Winona project.
“The student council will be a little more focused on giving them the history of what we’re doing so they can take that back to their schools,” Tritchka said.
The council meeting will also feature a keynote speaker, Professor of History Bradley Birzer. He will give students background on the French-Native American culture that affected the language, clothing, and religion of the area. Birzer said the French and Native American cultures blended together through the friendly relationship between the French Settlers and the local Potawatomi.
High schoolers on the advisory board will have more of an opportunity for direct involvement in the planning of the Winona statue and future projects.
“We’ll work with them on more of the detailed planning to get their perspective on what would be most successful,” she said. “Also, just to teach them what it takes to have an idea and follow it through, and have them be a part of that process.”
Though the Winona statue will not be placed in the park until June, Tritchka said student involvement in the project will help the community come together and learn more about the history of the Hillsdale area.