When I began working at the Woodson Art Museum nearly thirty years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the significant and beautiful artworks that would make their home at the Woodson. And while I stand in awe when viewing the oil painting Two Hooded Visorbearer Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade, its beauty is only slightly surpassed by the rare John James Audubon oil painting Pacific Loons. These are just two of over 4,000 remarkable works in the collection; just pinch me I must be dreaming.
Sharing beautiful artworks with visitors is a daily occurrence at the Woodson, but during the opening weekend of Birds in Art when many artists are visiting I get the opportunity to share works not on view. One example is the collection of Don Richard Eckelberry, whose lifetime accumulation of working materials and artworks including pencil and ink drawings, and watercolor and acrylic sketches are on long-term loan to the Woodson. I spent barely 20 minutes with two artists as they studied a small selection of these works, and came away with countless tidbits of information, insight into the artistic mind, and tales of personal experiences these two had shared with Don during visits to his studio on Long Island. To be responsible for the care of these works is an honor and a responsibility as well as an opportunity to preserve the work of an artist whose passion and focus mirror those of the Woodson Art Museum.