A Curator’s Delight

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on June 6th, 2012

I love being a curator. After thirty-three years, each day is still a surprise, the challenges a thrill (if not daunting), and the rewards unending.
Take yesterday as one of my “typical” days.
Awaiting me was a recently delivered package that contained a beautiful pencil sketch, a gift for the Museum’s collection from Catherine McClung. A thick manila envelope also awaited. Its contents revealed dozens of pages of legalese affirming that the Woodson Art Museum is a beneficiary of a Harry Adamson painting.
An email message from Woodson Art Museum director Kathy Foley confirmed that funding is in place for a publication to accompany the fall debut of the BMO Harris Bank gift of the M&I Bank Owen Gromme paintings. Although not a surprise, we now can move forward pulling together the various elements to produce the publication. Oh, yes, and the deadline is only two months away. Now, that’s a challenge!
A recent email message from Marcia Theel, a longtime colleague and friend, reminded me of how much the Museum’s collection has grown. We often discussed organizing one- or two-person exhibitions using the collection, but at the time the depth wasn’t there. Twelve years ago it was only a dream, but now – thanks to several generous gifts – it’s feasible.
A perfect example is the current exhibition An Abundances of Riches: The Woodcuts of Andrea Rich. Andrea’s gifts to the Museum’s collection began in 2000 with the first 129 of her woodcuts; subsequent gifts bring the total to 240. With such a large body of work from which to draw, the difficulty in curating the exhibition was the limited gallery space in which to display her work. An Abundance of Riches, on view through August 12, comprises fifty-five works featuring birds, animals, butterflies, and landscapes.
I recently walked through the galleries with a childhood friend, Marsha, who also happens to be Andrea’s cousin. We discussed Andrea, the artworks, and the immense challenge of creating a woodcut. Both of us have witnessed Andrea at work and we marvel at her skill, artistry, and mastery of her subject so exquisitely evident in each design.

Marsha’s comments and those of many others are my reward. Visitors who understand my vision, appreciate the artwork, and recognize the skill of the artist tell me I’ve done my job well. It’s why I love my job.

Share This!

Subscribe to our weekly blog. Please enter your email address.