Celebrating Collections

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on October 24th, 2018

“You’ve come a long way baby,” is a phrase that came to mind as I began writing this Woodson Wanderings blog post.

Why that sentiment? As I considered the Woodson Art Museum’s collection, looking for a clever way to present the recent acquisitions, my mind wandered to the “Wish List,” consulted by the Collections Committee when making acquisitions. A six-member subcommittee of the board of directors, the Collections Committee guides all gifts and purchases for the Museum’s collection. The Wish List, developed dozens of years ago, was pages long and featured the names of both contemporary and historic artists whose artwork would enhance the collection and set the world standard for avian art.

Happily, that list is nearly complete, and that prompted my thoughts about how far we’ve come.


The sixteen acquisitions from Birds in Art 2018 include ten artists new to the collection. Two other artists’ works were last acquired more than twenty-five and twelve years ago, others somewhat more recently.

How is it possible to acquire these works? Funds come from various sources.

For the ninth year, artists contributed artwork for Project Postcard; their donated, postcard-sized artworks sold to members and guests during the Friday evening preview raise funds for Woodson Art Museum acquisitions. This year three, paintings and one sculpture brought the total to forty-two works acquired with Project Postcard proceeds:

James M. Clow, Arizona Sun King, 2018, acrylic and sterling silver on cradled birch board
Thomas Hill, Running Heron, 2018, steel
Elwin van der Kolk, Summer Breeze, 2017, acrylic on MDF board
Jeremy Paul, Blue Door, Rajasthan, 2017, acrylic on board

The Woodson Art Museum is generously supported by the John and Alice Forester Charitable Trust. Five Birds in Art 2018 purchases increase to 315 acquisitions funded by the Charitable Trust over a long period of time:

Michael Dumas, Sparrow’s Rest, 2016, oil on Russian birch panel
Matthew Hillier, Stormy Sea, 2018, oil on Ampersand board
T. Allen Lawson, First Light, 2018, charcoal, graphite, Graphitint on cotton rag paper
Calvin Nicholls, Forty Acres, 2018, archival paper
John C. Pitcher, Peacefulness, 2018, acrylic on hardboard

All are welcome to honor and commemorate friends and relatives with contributions to the Museum’s Tribute Fund. Since 1985, these donations have made possible the acquisition of 128 works, including four from this year’s Birds in Art:

Purchased with Tribute Funds
Timothy David Mayhew, Goose Down, 2018, oil on Belgian linen

Purchased with Tribute Funds in memory of Dorris Doerres
Eric van der Aa, Scops Owl, 2017, watercolor on Terschelling paper

Purchased with Tribute Funds in memory of Bob Reid
Rose Tanner, Bee Curious, 2017, oil on linen on gator board

Purchased with Tribute Funds provided by Nancy-Leigh Fisher, Gale Fisher, and David Wenninger in honor of Alice Woodson Smith’s milestone birthday

Roger Folk, Hawaiian Honeycreeper, 2018, watercolor on Arches paper

Gifts to the collection are extraordinary. The generosity of donors and artists – of artworks and funds to acquire artworks – is an unending joy. Artists who honor the Museum with gifts of their work and those who fund purchases enhance the collection’s depth and beauty. Three works were added to the collection via gifts:

Purchased with funds provided by Jeff and Helo Zink
Cindy House, Early Arrival, Late Spring, 2018, pastel on sanded paper

Purchased with funds provided by Alice W. and Joseph F. Smith, Jr.
Nicholas Wilson, Repurposed (7/40), 2018, relief engraving on Rives BFK paper


Gift of the artist
Gail Stanek, The Tenant, 2017, watercolor on Arches paper

So, yes, we’ve come a long way. From modest beginnings and through thoughtful additions made possible by such generosity, the collection now totals over 15,000 works.

Visit soon to see these artworks in Birds in Art, on view through Sunday, November 25, and see other avian-themed marvels on view, too, in Regal Bearing, Sharing the Shoreline, and Dynamic Designs, exhibitions from the Museum’s ever-evolving collection.


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