It seems like it was yesterday when I visited the Woodson Art Museum to interview for a summer position as a gardener. It was April 12, 1979, and part of the interview included a Museum tour. One stop was an unfinished room in the lower level filled with colorful artwork and a staff member placing the works in groups. These artworks, it was quickly explained, comprised the Student Art Exhibition, an annual recognition and display of the creative classroom work of area students; the exhibition had just concluded. Cool.
One short year later, I was part of the team organizing and installing the exhibition. To ensure the exhibition’s viability, we’ve made major changes and minor tweaks over the past forty-three years but the goal remains to honor the region’s talented art teachers and students.
It’s time to present the 2020 Student Art Exhibition. This year we’ll have a three-member team installing the exhibition. I’m sharing the joy with visitor services staff member Ashley Jablonski, who’s also an artist, and spring intern Michaela Kraft, an arts management student from the University of Wisconsin-Steven Point. Their challenge is to create a pleasing display.
Let’s back up a bit, though. How does the exhibition become a reality? In mid-December 2019, we mailed the Student Art Exhibition prospectus to eligible teachers in north central Wisconsin, within a ninety-mile radius of Wausau. The 2020 exhibition highlights the artwork of students in grades 9-12. Each teacher may enter the work of four students. The works are delivered to the Museum in advance of this week’s installation, now underway in the galleries.
The exhibition comprises the work of eighty-three students from seventeen schools and entered by twenty-two teachers. The works are colorful, meticulous, eye-catching, and creative. The exhibition opens at Noon on Saturday, February 22, and remains on view through Sunday, March 29.
See the installation process, via these photos, and visit soon to experience the exhibition celebrating these students’ creativity.