As I settle into the administrative manager position at the Woodson Art Museum, I look forward to getting to know Woodson Wanderings readers and Woodson Art Museum members and to learning about the spaces and places that inspire you to get creative.
I like the word “absurd” and mental images it conjures – ridiculous, silly, incongruous . . . like a duck on a bike. Birds in Art artist David Milton agrees. He chose his painting’s subject – the 1950s tin toy – at the start of the coronavirus quarantine as a metaphor for the absurdity of the situation we are experiencing.
I’ve long felt the public opening of Birds in Art on the Saturday after Labor Day, signified the start of autumn.
This blog post previews one example of the inventive teamwork behind this fall’s visually focused Art Park installation, as the typical hands-on, interactive stations and art projects familiar to visitors aren’t possible during the coronavirus pandemic.
Somehow, summer always seems to slip away before we know it. Only a few days remain to experience this summer’s exhibition, Many Visions, Many Versions: Art from Indigenous Communities in India, on view through August 30. Imagine pausing the passage of time, even for an afternoon. Who knows? Maybe visiting the Woodson Art Museum with others will help slow the slippage of sand through the hourglass of summer.
Typically during the summer months, I’m happily organizing exhibitions to install in all the Museum’s permanent collection galleries. Covid-19 prompted rethinking installations to increase safety and social distancing. This fall, the west gallery where visitors usually peruse selections from the permanent collection will instead provide expanded space for Birds in Art so visitors can safely enjoy the 128 artworks comprising the exhibition.
My next exciting challenge is preparing for March 6, 2021 when all the Woodson Art Museum’s galleries will feature works from the collection.
Organizations, especially relatively small ones like the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum that engender long tenures among staff, are a lot like families . . . and close-knit ones, at that. We don’t just work together, we get to know one another and we care deeply about one another.
It’s bittersweet, therefore, to share the news of administrative manager Shari Schroeder’s retirement at the end of September. While I am thrilled for Shari and her family – and know that Woodson Wanderings readers will be, too – I am experiencing more than a twinge of blueness when I think about the Woodson Art Museum without her. Shari represents a key piece of the puzzle that makes the Museum staff not only a productive whole, but also relevant in a multi-faceted and connected way.
The evergreen I recall from childhood extended to the heavens, and courage was measured by letting go while hanging from a limb eight feet above the ground. The creek meandered – burbling over rocks, exposing imaginary quicksand, nourishing buttercups, and refreshing various wildlife. Milkweed fed Monarch butterflies and provided endless fascination. The rock pile invited both creation and parent-sanctioned destruction.
It’s humbling and a tad shocking to think I have been at the Museum almost a quarter of the time it has been in existence.
Thirty-one years ago, I had the pleasure of phoning Maynard Reece to tell him the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum wished to honor him as the 1989 Master Wildlife Artist in tandem with that fall’s Birds in Art exhibition.
I don’t recall Maynard’s exact words, but I’m certain they were humble, sincere, warm, and filled with gratitude. His response was in keeping with his gentle personality, which along with his considerable talents and penchant for wildfowl and wildlife subjects served him very well.