Fifteen years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to manage the business side of Ko-Thi Dance Company. One of my biggest joys during this five-year-period was becoming friends with one of Ko-Thi’s volunteers: Inger Wyon, a tall, lovely Danish citizen whose British husband David worked at Johnson Controls. The couple is now retired and living in Toulon, France, along the Mediterranean Sea. Our friendship has brought us together many times and my husband and I recently flew to France for another visit with them.
Inger and David enjoy showing us out-of-the-way places far from the usual tourist haunts. One night in June they took us to a picturesque little medieval village north of Toulon called Le Revest Les Eaux. The village, separated from its larger neighbor by the Mount Faron, is in the center of a circle collinear formed by the Mount Caume on the West, the Big Cape in the North and Coudon in the East. As we motored along the steep hills to the village, I couldn’t help but think this is the most remote place one could imagine to go out for pizza.
Before dining, we walked along the narrow, vine covered streets to see amazing views of the surrounding mountains. At an unassuming outdoor restaurant we were treated to delicious pizza topped with homemade sauce and local cheeses. We savored their local red wine. Near the end of dinner, a long-haired gentleman at the table next to us asked us where our curious collection of accents came from. When I told him my husband and I were Americans the man said in careful English, “Ooh la la, I come from a place called Mil-wau-kee, Wis-con-sin.” We howled at the coincidence.
The man introduced himself as Wayne Fischer and told us that he is a sculptor who went to college at UW-Milwaukee and Carroll College. How amazing to meet this man in such an unusual place. He asked us how we all knew each other and when we told him our friendship was formed years before through the Ko-Thi dance company, he raised his hands and exclaimed “Ooh la la! I saw Ko-Thi many years ago and I will never forget it. Ooh la la…ooh la la!”
He also told us that he had seen photos of the new Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and that he would love to exhibit there someday. When we got home, we looked at his website and to our surprise found he is a very accomplished ceramic porcelain artist who in the last 10 years has held exhibitions in France, Switzerland, China, Korea, Chicago, Norway, Germany, Holland and Belgium.
The world gets smaller and smaller every day! We hope to see the talented Mr. Fischer again someday, perhaps here in his native Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Note from Mary Louise: What a lovely story of coincidences and art encounters. Annie called me one afternoon to tell me about this artist. When she told me the story of her encounter I knew she'd do justice to the tale far better than I could. I'm delighted to say that I was right, and I'm delighted to share this guest contribution, also written with the help of Annie's husband John Jansen. Annie Jansen Jurczyk is the director of development for the Milwaukee Rep. John Jansen is the executive director of Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee. Thanks to both of your for sharing this with us.
By Annie Jansen Jurczyk, guest blogger
Published on: 6/25/2009