Count Your Blessings

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on July 15th, 2015

I don’t ever want to forget how blessed I am. The recent passing of our family matriarch reminded me, once again, of the importance of being grateful and not taking life for granted. “Family first” was her motto and she lived that daily. That’s a lesson I take to heart.Staff photo

Gratitude extends to the workplace, too. I’m honored to work with tremendously talented, dedicated, fun loving, and caring colleagues; I consider them family.

Taking this appreciation even further, I’m fortunate to be part of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Since my first day in April 1979 – and in many different roles – we’ve continually pushed the limits, expanded programs, and reached out to young and old, to school groups, and to those with special needs. The building has grown to accommodate these efforts; exhibitions are more ambitious and the permanent collection has been enhanced in ways I never would have imagined.

The grounds also have kept pace. The first monumental sculpture was installed November 1983. The Margaret Woodson Fisher Sculpture Garden opened in 1995. With the addition of three sculptures in 2013, there are twenty-seven works spread across two acres to discover and enjoy.

My focus, as curator of collections, is on those artworks comprising the permanent collection. I’m challenged to combine varied works into themed exhibitions. With thoughtful goals and discerning standards, our collection sets the standard for avian-and nature-themed art. The exhibition installations that will begin in early August will substantiate this claim.

Gromme-goldfinchesI’m putting the finishing touches on three exhibitions featuring more than 100 paintings, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures from the collection. Here’s a look at what’s to come.

Capturing Nature: The Art of Owen Gromme comprises works that demonstrate why Gromme is celebrated for compositions that integrate the bird and its surroundings.

Pencil, colored pencil, graphite, watercolor, and charcoal are mediums to be discovered in Well Drawn: Collection Highlights. From finelyHowe-Black-headed-Weaver rendered to loosely sketched, each drawing offers insight into how artists observe, contemplate, and develop compositions.

The dazzler, Audubon to Wyeth: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculptures from the Collection, will provide visitors with a historic look at bird imagery in artworks audubon-loonspanning the early-nineteenth through late-twentieth centuries.Wyeth_Andrew-Swifts

Shoreline Symphony and Carved and Cast remain on view. The former focuses on artists’ interpretations of the sights and sounds at the water’s edge. The latter presents small-scale and medium-sized sculptures recently acquired by the Museum.

It’s back to work on completing gallery labels, didactic materials, and framing. As I finish up this work and mind the details, I’m grateful to the donors and artists who have made it possible for our collection to grow. And, I’m reminded, once again, what an honor it is to be the curator of collections at the Woodson Art Museum.


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