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Moes works at sculpting, lately repairing public art

By Donna Schuld

DE PERE – Naomi Moes fits the definition of indefatigable.

An artist with a family and work, she doesn’t let occasional road bumps stop her from sharing her vision.

From her home in Allouez, Moes creates sculptures of animals and other creatures.

However, lately, she’s had to spend more time on artwork repair.

A few years ago, De Pere put a call out for ideas to renovate an alley next to Nicky’s Lionhead Restaurant in the 300 block of Main Avenue.

Moes and friend Shanna Koltz got to work on a collaboration of large bees clinging to the walls, docile flamingoes and Koltz’s artwork.

There are explanatory plaques urging more concern for the world’s fragile population of pollinators, along with benches for people to stop and take it all in.

Moes’ flamingoes have been vandalized three times in the last two years.

“They completely broke the head off one of them,” she said. “One of them was cracked really badly in three places. On the other one, they broke half of the head off so I had to make a whole new beak and repair the neck, too.”

Though De Pere officials have been quick to cover the expense of repairs, and even installed video surveillance of the alley, Moes still feels the sting.

“Seems wrong, doesn’t it?” she said. “I’ve had so many positive reviews from people. The city has received awards because of all the art and our work was one of the main pieces. It’s really a shame that one or two people just don’t appreciate it or they think it’s funny, or they want to take it home for themselves.”

Her sculptures are made with a combination of metal rebar, resin, fiberglass and epoxy.

“I put heavier metal in them now,” Moes said. “I made them for the elements, and the proof is – just look at the bees, they look great, they don’t look bad at all. They’ve been up there three years.”

Moes said her style has evolved over the past 25 years.

“Every day I do something,” she said. “I wake up thinking about it. I go to sleep thinking, ‘I want to work on this sculpture.’ It’s like I’m driven, obsessed with it. I’m really happy I have it. I just hope I stay healthy until I’m older so I keep doing it.”

Next on her busy schedule is an effort to bring 20 Green Bay and Fox Valley artists to Door County.

Together with her mother, Caroline, Moes is hosting Fine Arts and Antiques at the Barn outside Egg Harbor Sept. 18-19.

“We have a very iconic barn in Door County right off Highway 42,” Moes said. “Most people will recognize it when they see it. My mom wanted to open it up to the public. She will have the bottom of the barn full of her antiques, and then we have the top of the barn with 10 artists, and then in the granary, we’ll have another five artists and artists outside. I wanted to give them some exposure in Door County. These are all awarded artists, and I’m excited to have them up there and get some people to see them.”

Along with antiques and art for sale, visitors can expect to see artists demonstrating their work.

More details on Fine Art and Antiques at the Barn can be found on Facebook.

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