A Springtime Tradition

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on March 17th, 2010

Over the past few days, Wausau has experienced a spate of beautiful weather that gives me hope spring is on the way. Even though winter was relatively mild, I am ready for warmer, sunnier, and longer days.

Another sure sign of spring is the opening of the annual Student Art Exhibition. For thirty-three years, the Woodson Art Museum has celebrated Youth Art Month by featuring an exhibition of artwork created in classrooms from schools in a ninety-mile radius of Wausau. This large geographic area necessitates biennially alternating the grade levels of the participating students. This year the gallery is filled with the artworks of students in grades 9-12.

I estimate nearly 5,000 students from central Wisconsin have exhibited their paintings, sculptures, photographs, weavings, jewelry, and more at the Art Museum. I can’t count the number of times when, in conversation, the mention of where I work prompts this response: “I had an artwork displayed there once.” I know several of those then-budding artists went on to careers in the arts, and I hope the exhibition played some role in encouraging their talents.

Last week, at two receptions honoring the students and their families, I overheard comments ranging from “I am so proud of you. Your painting should be in a museum” to “I only wish I could draw like you.” Without exception, everyone delighted in the variety of works and was amazed by the tremendous talent of the young artists.

Art specialists deserve a resounding round of applause as well. First, they guide students through the challenging process of learning each medium, and then advise them in mounting, matting, and framing their work – the important finishing steps before artworks go public. I can only imagine the daily joys and frustrations they must experience. The Student Art Exhibition honors their dedication as well.

Rather than highlight any specific works, I’m sharing gallery photographs to encourage a visit to the Museum. The exhibition closes March 28th so you have only eleven days remaining to enjoy the Student Art Exhibition, a springtime favorite. I look forward to hearing your impressions.

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