Guitar Heroes

By: Catie Anderson, curator of education on February 11th, 2015

by Catie Anderson, curator of education

The Woodson Art Museum team has been gearing up for Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar for months.

Guitar Lineup Image

Left to right: Baroque Guitar, ca. 1600, unknown designer – originally from Iberia, commissioned reproduction; Goldklang Parlour Guitar, ca. 1890, unknown designer, manufactured by Frederick & Reinhard Enders; Telecaster, 1949, design by Leo Fender, manufactured by Fender Musical Instruments; B.C. Rich Warlock Red, 2001, design by Bernardo Rico, manufactured by B.C. Rich

Beginning in July, Museum staff worked with an impressive team of community partners whose insights, recommendations, and regional connections were valuable resources as program planning developed. The advice and knowledge of musicians, guitar makers, music store owners, venue managers, and educators led to what I’ll boast is an awesomely ambitious series of programs, spaces, and performances to complement Medieval to Metal.

Museum educator Jayna Hintz and I aren’t strangers to working with artists to develop residencies and installations, but I admit my learning curve was steep when it came to guitarists. Questions about sound systems, references to artists and albums I hadn’t heard of, and my shaky (and that’s being generous) background in music history left me a bit intimidated as I made phone calls to regional blues legends and hall-of-fame inductees. My excitement grew as did the list of confirmed performers and guest artists.

It also doesn’t get much better than having the exhibition’s curator and National Guitar Museum Director HP Newquist assisting with installation and offering a gallery walk on opening day – Saturday, February 28, 1 – 2 pm.

I often rely on the expertise of my colleagues, guest artists, and curators for vital information and narratives to share with visitors and volunteers. During Medieval to Metal, I’m thrilled to have access to luthier John Currier and guitar historian Michael Kudirka – my own personal guitar heroes. Luckily for Museum visitors, I’m not the only one who will benefit from the enthusiasm and experience of Currier and Kudirka; both will be artists in residence during the exhibition.

Be sure to check out the Museum’s active and engaging programs this spring as we celebrate music, legendary artists, and iconic stringed instruments.

If you’re a loyal but geographically distant fan of the Woodson Art Museum or the guitar, we hope you’ll visit, too! For special room rates offered at partner hotels, visit

Also, you can download – on your smartphone or tablet – our free audio tour app featuring a survey of instrument insights presented by Michael Kudirka (app available beginning February 27) and follow us on social media pages for digital visits to your favorite north central Wisconsin Art Museum.

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