While visiting Madison, Wisconsin earlier this summer, the fam and I found ourselves with a rare “no plans day.” After consuming copious amounts of spicy cheese bread at the Capital Square Farmer’s Market, we headed to Dr. Evermor’s Art Park near Prairie Du Sac (pronounced saw-k if you want to sound like a local).
The park is in some ways a museum of Dr. Evermor’s mind. It contains hundreds of sculptures created from scrap metal and salvage pieces. The most impressive of these being Foreverton – a 50 feet tall by 120 feet wide sculpture that resembles a Nikola Tesla invention repurposed for a Tim Burton film set. When completed in the late 1980s, it was the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. I kept thinking about how much work must have gone into planning such extensive and massive pieces. Foreverton required smaller sections to be assembled first and then lifted and welded to the main structure. I had a vision of stacks upon stacks of precise drawings with calculations written in the margins.
After wandering around for 10 minutes you feel as if you’re exploring a steam punk carnival from another dimension. Various groupings of sculptures and salvaged materials are strewn throughout the park. Some items are categorized and organized, others are randomly lying about.
boatloads a few pictures and then departing, my curiosity about Dr. Evermor’s story was piqued. I quickly found many articles about him and his work. Dr. Evermor is the alter-ego of Tom Every, a collector of antiquated machinery. Dr. Evermore is a Victorian professor/inventor from the 1890’s who’s planning to launch himself into the heavens using a magnetic lighting force field and the egg chamber atop Foreverton. The numerous sculptures surrounding Foreverton are all part of the story. There is the bird band (created from old metal instruments) that will serenade observers, the Epicurean where concessions will be served, and a viewing platform from which British Royalty will observe Dr. Evermor’s departure.
The most amazing bit of information that I unearthed, was that Dr. Evermor doesn’t use any written plans to create his masterpieces. Whauuut? My vision of all the precise engineering plans abruptly disintegrated and my spreadsheet-loving mind was blown! How truly incredible to create not just a giant work of art without a plan, but an entire garden of pieces that complement one another and work in unison to tell a complex story.
Another point that interested me was Dr. Evermor’s appreciation for existing shapes and forms. He combines salvaged materials without altering their original form. Items that may be obsolete from a technical perspective (like the decontamination chamber of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, not kidding) are preserved for posterity. The artist feels that it’s important to maintain the original forms of the industrial age so that they don’t disappear.
I truly tip my hat to Dr. Evermor. His Art Park is a stunning display of creativity, imagination, talent, and motivation. If you’re ever in the Madison area with a couple hours to spare, Dr. Evermor’s Art Park should be at the top of your site seeing list.