Since 1999, the Woodson Art Museum has presented dynamic artist residencies filled with workshops and programs for students, educators, area artists, and visitors of all ages. Artists – who often lead a workshop, presentation, or demonstration, along with other programs during their artist residencies – offer insights on diverse mediums through public programs and site-specific installations, providing firsthand experiences with passionate and knowledgeable creators.
Who’s Up Next
Mary Hark, February 6 Thursday 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Art 101: Handmade Paper Artistry: Artist and University of Wisconsin-Madison Design Studies professor Mary Hark discusses the fine craft of hand papermaking. Sharing examples of handmade papers – made from linen and cotton textiles, bio-waste, abaca, flax, and other materials – from her own practice and collected from other makers over many years, Mary’s presentation includes images of her production papermaking practice and hand-papermaking project in Ghana, West Africa.
Robert J. Lang, Saturday & Sunday, February 22 & 23
Master origami artist Robert J. Lang merges mathematics with aesthetics to create mesmerizing forms – both of realistic creatures and modular, geometric forms. Lang, who set aside his day job as a laser physicist to focus on both the art and science of origami, became a pioneer of the cross-disciplinary marriage of origami with mathematics, developing some of the most complex origami designs ever created. Lang’s origami artwork, featured in FaunaFold and included in Above the Fold, exemplifies how applying math and computer programming to origami revolutionized this ancient art form.
During his residency, Lang leads a gallery walk, public presentation, hands-on workshops, and works with area educators, exploring the principles of STEAM education – integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math – expressed in the origami artwork on view. Workshop registration opens after November 22; call the Museum to register and/or inquire about scholarships at 715.845.7010.
Melissa Sweet, Thursday – Saturday, April 16 – 18
Children’s book author and illustrator Melissa Sweet travels from her home in Portland, Maine, to share insights into her career and artwork, on view in Some Illustrator! Melissa is the author of four books and the illustrator of more than 100, receiving Caldecott honors for A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams and The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, both written by Jen Bryant. Melissa’s illustrations also appear in magazines, greeting cards, and in the toys, puzzles, and games she created for eeBoo.
During her residency, Melissa visits with area students, teaches a studio workshop, and leads a public presentation and gallery walk. Workshop registration opens March 1; call the Museum to register and/or inquire about scholarships at 715.845.7010.
Recent Guest Artist Programs
Jiangmei Wu, Saturday & Sunday, January 18 & 19
Above the Fold artist Jiangmei Wu’s large-scale, origami-inspired artworks are informed by the artist’s research in engineering, mathematics, technology, and the arts. Jiangmei shares her enthusiasm for spatial design in her role as assistant professor of Interior Design at the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University, Bloomington. During her residency, Jiangmei led a studio workshop for teens and adults and a public presentation on her areas of creative, interdisciplinary research.
Artist Tom Hill, Tuesday – Sunday, November 5 – 10
San Francisco-based sculptor Tom Hill’s memorable Birds in Art artworks feature character-filled and expressive subjects depicted in wire. During his residency, Tom worked with over 350 area students to create distinct sculptures featuring produce as body-form bases and the foundation for their mixed- media artworks. Inspired by the playful and unlimited mix-and-match design potential of Mr. Potato Head, Tom demonstrates how everyday items, even ephemeral ones, are compelling sources of inspiration ripe for incorporation into art making. See the students’ produce-based creations via photographs on view through Sunday, December 8, following the residency. Tom also led an interactive Art 101 program and a two-day wire-sculpting workshop for teens and adults.
Guest Speaker Pat Freres Stinger, Saturday, November 16, 1 – 2 pm
Birds in Myth, Poetry & Art: Whether portrayed as winged messengers of the gods or foreboding creatures of mystery, birds were prominent players in ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Join guest speaker Pat Freres Stinger for an exploration of avian appearances in classical myths, writings, and artwork.
Guest Speaker Sylvia Marek, Saturday, September 28, 1 – 2 pm
Wisconsin Owls: Visitors learned more about our state’s twelve owl species from University of Wisconsin Arboretum naturalist and educator Sylvia Marek who highlighted the adaptations, behaviors, and characteristics of some of the Badger State’s most beloved birds.
Artist Catherine McClung, Thursday – Sunday, October 17 – 20
Birds in Art artist Catherine McClung’s watercolor paintings take inspiration from the woods, waters, and meadows near her Michigan home. She often incorporates gold and silver leaf into her artwork, finding a balance between the vibrant colors of her subjects and the luminous, soft shine afforded by gilded backdrops. High school art students, Museum visitors, and program participants learned about Catherine’s use of metal leaf during her residency programs, including a presentation, public demonstration, and two-day studio workshop for teens and adults, all in tandem with the Wisconsin Science Festival, October 17-20.
Guest Speaker Craig Thompson, Saturday, October 26, 1 – 2 pm
Bird Conservation in Your Own Backyard: Department of Natural Resources section chief and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative committee member Craig Thompson shared information and resources for achievable steps you can take on behalf of Wisconsin avian inhabitants.
Guest Curator Carol Woodin, Saturday, June 8, 1 – 2 pm
Botanical Art Worldwide: Global Initiative Insights: Visitors learned about the coordinated, international effort to increase appreciation of the world’s plant diversity from guest curator Carol Woodin. Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora, organized by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the United States Botanic Garden, is one of twenty-five initiatives.
Artist Bonnie Gale, Friday – Sunday, June 21 – 23
Bonnie Gale, a New York-based artist and landscape designer who has used willow as her primary medium since the early 1980s, returned to lead programs a year after constructing her site-specific Living Willow Dreams – a seven-foot-tall, domed, willow structure – in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. An accomplished willow basketry artist, Bonnie’s residency programs wove together the themes of this summer’s botanical art exhibitions – Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Floraand Flora, Fauna, Font: Illustrating the Alphabet.
Artist Wendy Brockman, Thursday – Sunday, August 1 – 4
Known and admired for her elegant and exacting depictions of bird nests, Minnesota-based artist Wendy Brockman shared her expertise and enthusiasm for botanical art during her residency programs, which included a gallery walk, studio workshop, and in-gallery painting demonstration complementing Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora.
Artist Mark Wagner, Saturday & Sunday, May 4 & 5
Cut Up/Cut Out exhibition artist Mark Wagner creates intricate collages made entirely from deconstructed U.S. dollars, slicing thousands of bills to create artwork that pointedly and playfully explores the intersection of wealth, power, value, and American identity. During his residency, Mark lead a collaging workshop for teens and adults on Saturday, May 4, and a public presentation and gallery walk on Sunday, May 5.
Professor Shiela Reaves, Rescheduled due to inclement weather to Sunday, February 17, 1 – 2 pm
Art 101: Understanding the Art of Vision
Parts of the brain that help us see objects and connect them to what we believe them to be are referred to collectively as the visual brain. Increased visual multitasking and stress from digital technology are changing our visual brains, impacting our ability to interpret visual experiences such as optical illusion. Shiela Reaves, professor and director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and a member of the UW-Madison McPherson Eye Research Institute, shared her research surrounding the intersections of neuroscience and the visual brain.
Seeing & Not Seeing: Investigating the Foundations of Perception
Why do we often perceive things that don’t actually exist, while sometimes failing to perceive what is plainly in sight? Join Emily J. Ward, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor and director of the Visual Cognition Laboratory discussed the cognitive science of visual perception.
Illusion Quilts Workshop: Author and quilter Pat Gaska led participants through the design of an optical illusion block pattern, which participants assembled using the English paper piecing technique.
Artist Jane Kim, Friday – Sunday, November 9 – 18
Artist, science illustrator, and founder of Ink Dwell – a studio designed to inspire people to love and protect the earth, Jane Kim specializes in creating large-scale public installations. During Jane’s Woodson Art Museum residency, school groups and Museum visitors observed Jane as she worked on her large, commissioned painting onsite, RGB(ird), which illustrates how bird feathers get their color. She also led a Birds in Art gallery walk, offered a full-day scientific illustration workshop for teens and adults, and presented an evening program about her work and artistic process.
Visitors learned about artist Charley Harper’s life and beguiling artwork of birds and animals that defined his signature style: minimal realism. Michelle Houts, author of Count the Wings: The Life and Art of Charley Harper for readers ages 9 and up, shared insights designed for nature and art enthusiasts of all ages.
Journalist and poet Ronnie Hess shares her creative writing and passion for owls during a public reading and creative-writing workshop on Saturday, October 13, 9 am – Noon; call 715-845-7010 to register.
Teen & Adult Workshop: Friday, June 22 4 – 7 pm, & Sat. & Sun., June 23 & 24 10 am – 4 pm
Teens and adults joined Birds in Art Master Artist Anne Senechal Faust for a three-part workshop dedicated to the art of screen-printing or serigraphy. With Anne’s guidance, participants created original, two-color serigraphs in an edition of ten.
Area photographers and outdoor photography enthusiasts joined Ian Plant for weekend public programs and a photography class, complementing the Woodson Art Museum’s traveling exhibition Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary, which includes Ian’s photograph of Wisconsin ice caves.
Caldecott award-winning artist Eric Rohmann shared his passion for children’s illustrated literature during residency visits with over 300 area students and public programs. Eric’s teen/adult programs included relief printmaking and visual storytelling workshops.
Quilter, designer, writer, and television personality Mary Fons shared her love of quilt design and history during workshops and programs.
Thursday, January 4, 5:30 – 7 pm, Art 101/Hands-On Art: Wisconsin Valley Woodturners demonstrated and discussed woodturning techniques, answered questions, and invited participants to try their hand at the lathe. Saturday, January 6, 1 – 3 pm, Art Park Open Studio: Wisconsin Valley Woodturners shared their enthusiasm and expertise as they guided participants in basic woodturning techniques.
Sculptor Ricky Bernstein described the inspiration, designs, and production process for his whimsical, large-scale glass sculptures, like his site-specific artwork Destined for the Stars created for the Woodson Art Museum, on view beginning December 2.
Lessons from Birds Lost with Author B.J. Hollars, Saturday, November 18, 1 – 2 pm
Tennessee-based Birds in Art artists Rachelle and Wes
Siegrist are internationally recognized for their paintings on small canvases, usually less than nine square inches. Drawing upon their experiences as artists and instructors and their admiration for nature, the Siegrists incorporate the centuries-old traditions of miniature artwork into their twenty-first-century practices. During their residency, the husband-and-wife team worked with visiting students creating miniature watercolor paintings and presented public demonstrations, presentations, and a workshop for teens and adults.
Wisconsin Poet Laureate Karla Huston, Saturday, October 21, 1 – 2 pm
Words Take Flight: Poetry & Conversation: Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate Karla Huston shared avian-themed poetry and led conversation in the Birds in Art galleries.
Master Artist Don Rambadt in Residence, Thursday – Sunday, October 12 – 15
This fall, Master Artist Don Rambadt worked with Wausau East High School art and technical education students to develop original sculpture designs for fabrication in the school’s metal workshop. During his residency, Museum visitors observed his working process during a public demonstration or try their hand at small-scale metal sculpture in a three-part workshop for teens and adults.
Backyard Birdscaping with Author Mariette Nowak, Thursday, September 28, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Mariette Nowak, author of Birdscaping in the Midwest, discussed native plants that attract, shelter, and feed birds to enhance backyard birdwatching; following her talk Mariette offered a book signing.
Convergence: Where Art, Writing, and Conservation Meet, Thursday – Saturday October 5 – 7
Visitors explored the intersection of the arts, humanities, and natural sciences with environmental stewardship through programs featuring writer and outdoorsman John Gierach, plein-air painter Bob White, photographer Mike Dvorak, forest ecologist Alan Haney, and conservation biologist Eric Anderson. Through public presentations, art making, a panel discussion, and gallery conversation, these guest artists, authors, and scientists asked participants to consider varied ways to understand, appreciate, and protect the natural world.
Native Birds of Cuba with Author Nils Narvarro, Thursday, September 21, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Cuban ornithologist Nils Navarro, author of Endemic Birds of Cuba: A Comprehensive Field Guide, offered a window into the colorful and diverse species of birds found on his native island. This program was supported in part by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.
Raku with Reineking: Teen & Adult Three-Part Workshop
Saturday, June 24, 10 am – 4 pm; Saturday, July 8, 9am – Noon; Sunday, July 9, 10 am – 4 pm Wisconsin sculptor and ceramist Gene Reineking lead participants in a three-part Raku pottery workshop inspired by artwork on view in Contemporary Japanese Ceramics. The first session focused on hand-forming ceramics, followed by glazing in Part 2 on Saturday, July 8, 9 am-Noon, and firing during Part 3 on Sunday, July 9, 10 am-4 pm.
Student Artist Molly Hassler, Thursday, June 15, 10:30 am – Noon
Exercise Your Imagination: Textile Marbling Adults ages 60+ joined specially trained student artist Molly Hassler to explore creativity – through textile marbling – in a supportive environment. Molly is part of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s Student Artist in Residence (SAIR) Program, created by Professor Anne Basting, a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. Funded by Bader Philanthropies, the SAIR Program pairs art students with organizations serving older adults to provide intergenerational connections and creative engagement through workshops. Anne Basting states, “Research shows that engaging in the arts in late life, as a beginner or lifelong artist, has multiple benefits for health and well-being. It has been a joy to watch both generations thrive in this program.”
Woodblock Printing, Saturday, April 8, 10 am – 4 pm AND Sunday, April 9, 10 am – Noon
Inspired by M.C. Escher’s early woodblock prints, participants designed, carved, and printed woodblock prints with guidance from printmaker and paper artist Shannon Pueschner and Museum educator Catie Anderson during this two-part studio workshop.
Artist Robin Lauersdorf, March 4, 25, and 26
Wisconsin artist Robin Lauersdorf draws inspiration from the artwork of M.C. Escher to create his precise yet whimsical drawings featured in Illustrating Illusion: Drawings by Robin Lauersdorfon view through May 28. Robin led dozens of visitors through his exhibition on Saturday, March 4 and offered a two-day drawing workshop for area teens and adults Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26.
Nicholas T. Kondoprias, Thursday, March 23 Noon – 1 pm OR 5:30 – 6:30 pm
During his M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion gallery walks, Nicholas T. Kondoprias shared stories about Escher’s life and artistic career. Nicholas T. Kondoprias is a partner at PAN Art Connections, Inc. which organized the M.C. Escher exhibition.
Professor Catya von Karolyi, Saturday, March 18, 1 – 2 pm
Recognizing impossible figures, like those found in Escher’s artwork, has been associated with artistic talent and also with dyslexia. During her March 18 lecture, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire psychology professor Catya von Karolyi presented research about these relationships and discussed the importance of nurturing visual spatial abilities in the classroom and with children at home.
During their Art 101 programs, Denis and Janine Daniels of Wausau’s Woodland Glass Arts, illuminated the stained glass studio process from start to finish. Visitors learned that whether beginning with a commission or a concept, designing elaborate stained glass pieces for architectural windows or decorative lampshades requires precision and planning.
Glass artist and instructor Judy Shumway, co-owner of The Glass Garden studio in Janesville, offered two beginning stained-glass workshops beginning Friday evening and finishing up on Saturday afternoon, where participating teens and adults created a small hanging window panel.
Lindsy Parrott, director of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and Tiffany Glass exhibition curator introduced visitors to the exhibition, offering a Saturday afternoon program on the methods, artisans, and materials that made Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios American art icons.
Ecologists Alan Haney and Eric Anderson, November 3 and 16
During two November Art 101 presentations, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources emeriti professors Alan Haney and Eric Anderson presented research on the uncertain biodiversity of the northern Midwest in the face of climate change and other human-caused disruptions.