Birds Spring into Art

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on May 3rd

Signs of spring are everywhere. With luck, I might not see another snowflake until the fall.

With spring comes hope. Hope for warmer weather, a new growing season, and time to get outside to enjoy nature.  Spring also brings the return of migratory birds that fled to warmer climates last fall.

I think spring is the best time of year. As a birder, I’m excited when the first wave of migrant birds make their way north, seeking suitable nesting sites. The flashes of color as these new arrivals dart for cover are always a thrill to see.

Brown thrasher photographed May 3, 2017 in my backyard.

Another sure sign of spring is jurying the Woodson Art Museum’s annual Birds in Art exhibition. The three-person jury convened Monday.

White-throated sparrow photographed May 2, 2017 in my backyard.

With the jurors’ work completed, Museum staff turn their attention to notifying artists and sending schedules and details to ensure adherence to our tight summer schedule. Before we know it, we’ll be unpacking artwork, which I always anticipate.

Long-billed dowitcher photographed April 29, 2017 on a mudflat on county road DM near Deforest, Wisconsin.

While activity at the Museum is in high gear, my thoughts rarely stray from the avian arrivals searching for food to replenish reserves after their long and arduous journey north.

Yellow-headed blackbird photographed April 29, 2017 at Schoenberg Marsh near Poynette, Wisconsin.

You could correctly say that my work time and free time are consumed with birds. I’ve even convinced my wife to tag along for birdwatching, and, I must admit, she has a good eye for seeing little creatures move among tree branches.

Red-necked grebe photographed April 29, 2017 at Schoenberg Marsh near Poynette, Wisconsin.

After sitting in on the jury and now seeing the artworks chosen for the 2017 Birds in Art exhibition, I’m confident that, come September, visitors to the Woodson Art Museum will be delighted by a fabulous array of avian-inspired paintings, graphics, and sculpture.


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