Birds of a Feather . . .

By: Matt Foss on April 24th, 2024

In fall 2021, San Francisco-based sculptor Tom Hill came to the Woodson Art Museum and worked with groups of community members, including area school children and residents at the Women’s Community, to create a sculpture featuring almost 1,000 wire birds. Together, the birds formed a murmuration – a cloud-like shape of birds flying together that moves, twists, and transforms in the sky. The sculpture of wire birds – simply titled Murmuration – was prominently displayed in the Museum’s main stairwell since Tom’s 2021 residency.

When Museum staff thought about the future of the sculpture, it was felt that the time was right for the artwork to be re-imagined and to “soar” in a new location. Because Murmuration’s roots as a community-based project concerning flight made Central Wisconsin Airport the perfect place for the sculpture’s migration. After sharing our thoughts with the powers that be at CWA, they saw the potential of what the sculpture could become in one of their premier spaces. The sculpture was ready to take flight again.

In the first week of April, Tom Hill came back to Wausau and spent a week with Museum staff and members of the public, including Mosinee High School art students and Central Wisconsin Airport staff, to make more wire birds and to re-configure the sculpture near the main gates at the airport. For those just arriving, or waiting to depart at CWA, the sculpture, now called Flock Together, is a sight to behold. Still in the general form of a murmuration with the birds all moving in the same form, the sculpture and the title further represent the partnership the Museum created with Tom Hill, the community, and Central Wisconsin Airport to make the project a reality.

This image shows artist Tom Hill on a large lift with Museum curator of exhibitions Shannon Pueschner installing "Flock Together"

Tom Hill (left) and Museum curator of exhibitions Shannon Pueschner (right) install components of “Flock Together” at CWA

This image shows Tom Hill instructing high school students from Mosinee High School in how to form a wire bird

Tom Hill instructing art students from Mosinee High School

Special thanks go to Central Wisconsin Airport staff including Airport Director Brian Grefe and Assistant Airport Director Mark Cihlar, and the Central Wisconsin Joint Airport Board for sharing our vision, Mosinee High School Art Department for believing in the power of learning from and working alongside artists in residence, and the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, which provides support for visiting artists at the Woodson Art Museum. All helped make Flock Together fly for years to come. The next time you find yourself at CWA, you’ll fly alongside it.

This image shows the sculpture entitled "Flock Together" at Central Wisconsin Airport. There are several wire birds flying together in a pattern

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