"Lyra" is in Burns Park, at the corner of Seventh and Main streets.

“Lyra,” a sculpture in Burns Park, may soon be returned to its original blue.

The La Crosse Arts Board is looking into repainting the 16-foot-tall aluminum structure, which sits in Burns Park on the corner of Seventh and Main streets, going so far as to review a quote for $6,500 from La Crosse Sign Co. at its Friday meeting.

The sculpture, which was named after the constellation of stars, by Bruce White was originally dedicated in 1980 at Valley View Mall. It was moved to Burns Park across from the La Crosse Public Library in 1991 and painted brown a year later. In 2005, the La Crosse Common Council approved repainting it the original blue.

Nowadays, the sculpture is mostly brown with some blue spots near the bottom.

Arts Board chair Doug Weidenbach said the project was a good project for the board, letting them tackle a relatively easy restoration and saying the timing worked out well with the other improvements the city’s parks department is making to Burns Park.

Board member Dillon McArdle added that it was important to not only paint the sculpture, but also to consider the surrounding landscaping and lighting. The Lyra stands on three concrete circles surrounded by wood chips.

“Without that component, I think you’re putting a beautiful statue in a really kind of shoddy place. The landscaping is really not good there,” McArdle said.

City environmental planner Lewis Kuhlman will look into the cost of landscaping, as well as other funding options. He said the cost was likely due to the need to move it for repainting. The sculpture will need to be sandblasted to clear the remains of the brown paint before it can be finished, which can’t be done in the park.

“I think we want to do this, definitely, but the idea is how to pay for it,” Weidenbach said.

While the committee has funds in its budget to put toward the project — it voted to commit up to $3,500 to the project — members hope to reach out to the city’s Board of Park Commissioners for a partnership, particularly when it comes to adding lighting and landscaping.

“If the parks department could take on the lighting and maintaining the landscaping, because that falls more within their realm … then maybe we could get a few more people on board to help offset that $6,500,” McArdle said.

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Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at



City government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(4) comments


So ugly. .milwaukee has its counterpart.. is known as one of the top ten ugliest things in milwaukee.


Really, this is a priority? There is nothing wrong with the green area of the park. What is wrong with it is the homeless situation along with those people who are too incapacitated to be accepted by the Salvation Army down the block, that really hasn't been resolved.


Seriously? Is this just a click bait thing?

The arts board needs to be City de-defunded and converted to a volunteer and donation based organization if it exists at all.

How many bids did the Board receive for the job. $6,500 of taxpayer money plus cost of landscaping seems out of line.

We have a blue baby watching over City Hall and now someone thinks we need a Blue Hex standing guard in Burns Park on Main Street. Is the "blue" some sort of statement by local liberals?

And they want a wheel tax so they can continue this lunacy. Of course.


It could make a good fish attraction device in Lake Onalaska.

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