Dedication ceremony for Badger statue incorporates artist’s Ho-Chunk nation heritage

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The bronze badger statue near Camp Randall is now officially part of the Madison public arts collection.

The artist, Harry Whitehorse, was part of the Ho-Chunk nation. He passed away in 2017.

His wife, Deb, and other members of his family were in attendance at the dedication ceremony on Friday afternoon.

His family says he would have loved seeing children climb on the statue and families pose for photos around it.

“Harry believed that art should be touched and experienced,” said Deb Whitehorse. “He wanted people to touch anything he made.”

The sculpture is low to the ground in order to be at eye-level for children. It sits on a rubberized surface to make it safe for kids to play around.

“It definitely accomplishes the goal of what Harry had in mind,” said Whitehorse.

Mayor Rhodes-Conway attended the ceremony, as did the new president of Ho-Chunk nation, Marlon WhiteEagle.

Whitehorse said it’s wonderful a Ho-Chunk artist was selected to construct the statue.

“It reminds people that this is their land,” said Whitehorse. “The Ho-Chunk people have always been here, they continue to be here, and they’ll be here in the future.”

The statue sits on the triangle-shaped plaza between Breese Terrace, Regent and Monroe Streets.

Funding for the sculpture came from City of Madison Engineering, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, The Madison Community Foundation and an Art in Public Places Grant from the Madison Arts Commission.