Wisconsin receives $60,000 in federal grants to restore Forward, Col. Heg statues in Madison, explore diverse options

Sara Oblin Myefski, clockwise from left, Giorgio Gikes, Terra Gillis, Nadine Chronopolus and John Vanameron cover the bronze statue head of Col. Hans Christian Heg at his namesake park in Racine County on Wednesday. The mold will be used to repair an identical statue at the state Capitol that was torn off its pedestal and vandalized this past summer during protests.

Wisconsin will now receive $60,000 in federal grants to restore two statues in Madison that were pulled down by demonstrators during summer protests at the state Capitol.

Gov. Tony Evers announced the grants Friday as work proceeds to restore the damaged Forward and Col. Hans Christian Heg statues.

A $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities was awarded earlier this year.

The second grant, $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, was just confirmed.

“This is great news and we appreciate the NEH and NEA for their support in restoring and preserving our state history,” Evers said in a statement. “I look forward to not only getting Col. Heg and Forward back up on their feet at the Capitol, but also exploring new options to make the Capitol grounds a more accurate reflection of our state’s diversity and history.”

Key restoration work was performed this week on the Col. Heg statue, which honors the life of the Norwegian-American abolitionist.

A Detroit-based sculptural restoration crew was in Wisconsin this week making a cast of the head of a Heg statue that stands in the Town of Norway.

Evers also announced a community advisory panel as the state seeks to honor the late Vel Phillips with a statue on the Capitol grounds.

The committee will be chaired by Dave Endres, Corporate Legal Counsel for American Family Insurance. Michael Phillips, Vel Phillips’ son, is among others on the committee.

Vel Phillips was the first African-American to win a seat on Milwaukee’s Common Council and won statewide office as secretary of state.

The community committee is looking to make its proposal on the Phillips statue early next year.