Artist Updates

"A Meeting with Destiny"

 

      You never know what sudden event will change the course of your life forever, but that stormy night  was a turning point in the life of John Latsch. He has left an extraordinary legacy all of us enjoy.

This sculpture depicts a true story of an event from the early 1900s that led to the preservation of our beautiful recreational areas along the Mississippi River near Winona, Minnesota

John Latsch owned a large wholesale grocery business with many employees and responsibilities. Often he would take his newspaper and a jug of buttermilk to canoe on the Mississippi River, enjoying the peaceful paddling and camping. One evening a thunder storm rolled in and Latsch headed for shore to take shelter. Soon after reaching the bank of the river and settling in under his canoe, the farmer who owned the land arrived and demanded that he leave because it was private property. Not wanting to cause trouble, Latsch headed back into the storm. As he paddled the ten miles home, he became boiling mad about the incident.

In the morning Latsch called his attorney and told him to buy that man’s land and to buy all the river bottom land that could be had. He never wanted such an incident to happen to anyone on the river again. Acquiring land for his public sanctuary became a driving force in his life.

Throughout his years he acquired thousands of acres of land along the Mississippi north and south of his home in Winona. Working with the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota he helped establish 18,000 acres into four state parks on the river and seven city parks and facilities in Winona.

The founders of the Isaac Walton League of America cited his actions when in 1924 they convinced Congress to develop the 240,000 acre Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

January 2010 brought two new sculptures and the revision of Winona's otter drinking fountain "Clean Water Brings Life". A single otter sculpture was a natural follow up to the fountain trio and that was designed and sculpted in January and back from the foundry in April in time for the Renaissance Shows.

In the fall of 2009 I was commissioned to do a memorial for a friend who left us. His life's work was Land Stewardship. The sculpture is a man picking up a handful of dirt. The caption is "Honor the Earth, Protect the Soil, the Source of Life". We are looking for the funding to have the sculpture cast in bronze and an appropriate home for the clay original where people will be inspired to carry on this man's mission.

In April I attended a workshop facilitated by a renowned sculptor John Coleman. It was an advanced class and it was exciting and inspiring to spend a week with other accomplished sculptors. I started two new sculptures that will be completed this summer at the Colorado and Minnesota Renaissance Festivals, where I will be showing, selling and demonstrating my work.