Just Thinking Ahead

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on August 5th, 2009

Many of us go through life planning for just a few days ahead or perhaps into the next week. Some folks may schedule appointments a few weeks or months out or may plan a vacation six to eight months in advance.

As curator of exhibitions, I’m mostly planning two to three years in advance. Traveling exhibitions are offered years before they appear on a museum’s walls. In order to secure exceptional exhibitions, I diligently and continually search for exhibitions that are a good fit for the Woodson and our audiences.

A few of months ago, I received a call from Peter Korn, director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport, Maine. He’s organizing an exhibition called Boxes and Their Makers and looking for interested venues. After reviewing the material and sharing it with our exhibition selection committee, I received the go-ahead to book it for the Woodson for winter 2011 – 2012.

Once I confirmed our presentation of Boxes and Their Makers, I met with Roger Zimmerman and Pat Peckham, members of the Wisconsin Valley Woodturners, to discuss an exhibition of work by central and northern Wisconsin woodworkers. Both Roger and Pat found the possibilities intriguing, especially the opportunity to work on an exhibition twenty-seven months in advance.

Together, Roger, Pat, and I established criteria for our locally organized exhibition and, with the help of the Woodson’s summer intern, we came up with the title Think Inside the Box. The premise is for woodworkers to create enclosed containers that house an object or decorative design that gives each box a special character.

Now, if I could just find the perfect exhibition for the summer of 2012.

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