Encouraging Words

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on April 19th, 2017

Warm breezes and bird song, welcomed through our open windows during recent weekends, replenished my hope that – despite the drab, winter-weary landscape – spring is on its way.

Like the two house-finch pairs building nests on our porch at home, we focused on our nest, too. Preparing for the advent of spring, we scratched around the yard and reshuffled interior decor, too, replacing maroon and deep greens with lavender and pastels. Bring on spring.

We’re all nourished by a bread-crumb trail of encouragement now and then. I learned recently that offering crushed eggshells in bird feeders can help female birds replace calcium drained by their egg-production efforts. I also left bits of cotton batting and string in an empty suet feeder for those nest-building house finches.

It’s hardly altruistic. Actually, it’s purely selfish. These birds would be fine and do good work on their own; I like the joy of witnessing it all unfold.

Recent comments by Woodson Art Museum visitors have affected me in a similar way. Students’ illustrated thank-you notes and visitors’ thoughtful reflections offer opportunities to take pleasure from others’ observations about wonders that occur here. Great things transpire at the Woodson Art Museum all the time. Volunteers and staff carry out good work on a continual quest: to exceed expectations in the Museum’s mission to enhance lives through art.

These visitors’ notes, though, are delightful – a bit of beauty to behold. I offer them here in the hope that you’ll enjoy this “window” on the Woodson Art Museum world and make visits here a part of yours, soon and often, throughout this spring and beyond.

This excerpt from a Wausau Daily Herald letter to the editor, published online on March 28 and in print on March 30, buoyed our spirits. “I recently visited the Woodson Art Museum. On display was artwork done by local students in grades 5-8. While viewing their beautiful artistic renderings, I shared the imaginative pleasures they must have felt while creating them. My inspirational journey continued as I observed a group of elementary school children drawn into the fantastical works of famous artist M.C. Escher by a knowledgeable, enthusiastic docent. They eagerly answered questions and gave their own observations as they viewed Escher’s woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints. Later they would have a chance to create their own Escher-like pieces in the museum’s children’s section. Watching the rapt attention of the students, I hunched some might in time consider art-related careers.”

Although we don’t know the author, Jean Fisher, of Wausau, we sought several ways of reaching her to express our appreciation – without success, as yet. If this blog post finds its way to you, Jean; thank you!

Here are snippets from an educator who traveled forty-seven miles with sixty-eight Auburndale Elementary fifth-grade students to visit the Museum on March 22. The students were fascinated by M.C. Escher’s artwork, said the educator, who also mentioned that it tied into the fifth-grade art curriculum and the complementary exhibitions in intriguing ways, too. “Docents were very knowledgeable about the artwork and were able to engage my upper elementary students at their age level. A number of my students greatly enjoyed this activity and were finishing on their own the next day. The tessellation concept reinforced, but didn’t duplicate, our classroom units involving Escher.”

Here are two of the Auburndale Elementary students’ thank-you notes.










On the national stage, a federal agency focused the social-media spotlight on the Museum last week. The Woodson Art Museum is one of only three art museums in the nation and the only Wisconsin institution to receive 2017 National Medal finalist recognition by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency supporting about 35,000 museums. The IMLS invited the public to share stories on its Facebook page on April 3. The forty comments posted there – eighteen comments beneath three photos and twenty-two more in the “visitor posts” section – highlight the Woodson Art Museum’s impact and range of services offered to all, always admission free. The comments were gratifying and energizing beyond words. Thanks, once again, to all who devoted the time and effort to post your encouraging words. Check the USIMLS Facebook page to read the April 3 posts; here are a few, including a photo posted by a proud grandma:

“The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Toddler Tuesday program has given my preschool granddaughters wonderful hands-on creative opportunities,” wrote Christine Nelson Freiberg. “They always walk through the current exhibition with enthusiasm!”

“The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum provides exceptional art experiences for the citizens of and visitors to north central Wisconsin. It inspired me to begin making art videos about their exhibits and installations to share with the world via YouTube,” wrote Jeff Eaton, who recently traveled from Rhinelander to work on his sixth video.

Yet another devoted Museum fan, Bob Rossa, doesn’t allow distance to deter his visits from Madison.“I want to say something about the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum of Wausau, WI. It is an amazing place. I live 150 miles away and regularly go there. I recently saw an exhibition of 200+ works of M.C.Escher, one of my all-time favorite artists. It was incredible seeing the originals up close. I love that place.”

How do Woodson Art Museum visits encourage and inspire you?



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