Emily’s New Groove

By: Emily Fritz, youth and family program manager on August 2nd, 2023

Emily Fritz sitting in front of the Minneapolis skyline.As a movie lover, introductions like this always feel like the opening scene of the movie where the protagonist says something cheesy like “Yep that’s me. I bet you’re wondering how I got here.” Yes, I am using Emperor’s New Groove as the template for that reference. Although this introduction is not about how a disgruntled employee turns me into a llama and I learn the true meaning of life, it is an introduction about how within weeks at the end of my 20s, everything just fell into place. I left classroom teaching, and I landed here. The Woodson Art Museum. Who would have thought?  

As I sit in my new office, and dive into the magical land of art museum programming, I can’t help but reflect on my 2017 self who, after struggling to break into the Arts Management and children’s museum landscape, was  returning to the world of higher education to pursue an elementary education degree. If I would have asked 2017 Emily why, I feel confident that the answer would have been “I want to be able to work in children’s museums and non-traditional education spaces.” After internships and post-graduate work in children’s museums and outreach programs, I knew that “unconventional” education spaces were where I was meant to be. I wanted to be in the room where the “AHA” moments happened. I wanted to help build spaces where others could explore and grow their love for the arts just like I did at the Woodson throughout my childhood. Honestly, I think that my 2017 self would be awestruck that I am here, in a Museum that I love, doing what sets my soul on fire. 

I am a Wisconsinite, born and raised, and have lived in Wausau for most of my life. I graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management with a focus on Child, Youth, and Family Studies and Music. After graduating, I adventured out of Wisconsin and worked for a children’s museum, bookstore, and anime convention, focusing on community-based events. I came back to Wausau in 2017 to pursue my elementary education degree and began teaching fifth grade at Thomas Jefferson Elementary after graduation. While there, I fell back in love with education, especially with upper elementary students who are quirky, hilarious, and wild. Although I loved teaching in the classroom, after four years, I began working on finding my way back to my dream of working in non-traditional education spaces. I am thrilled to be continuing my journey here at the Woodson and melding my passion for the arts with my love for education. 

When I am not elbow deep in an art project, exploring the galleries, or chatting with volunteers, I am under a mountain of my own crafting. Fabric arts and needlework have my heart so you will often find me with crochet, knitting, or embroidery in my large bookstore tote bag each day. If it’s not a crafting project, it’s a new book, or I am flying high at the aerial arts studio in Stevens Point! So, feel free to inquire about this week’s crafting adventure, reading discovery, or circus experience. I look forward to meeting all of you, learning with you, and creating together! 


Emily Fritz performing aerial arts with Croi Croga Yoga and Aerial Arts Studio in Stevens Point, WI.


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