Manifestations of Love on Valentine’s Day and Everyday

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director

Valentine’s Day is one of my two favorite holidays. No surprise, the other is Thanksgiving. Love and food. These holidays are hard to beat.

I take an expansive and inclusive approach to Valentine’s Day, perhaps more like a kindness day — to others and to ones’s self — and a reminder that love takes many forms.

We regularly see aspects of love and kindness on full display — yes, pun intended — at the Woodson Art Museum.

Artists’ work on view can be thought of as among the purest expressions of love, emotions laid bare in watercolor, oil, bronze, fabric, turned wood, and other mediums. The latter two are currently featured at the Woodson in Wild Fabrications and Explorations in Wood; these exhibitions remain on view through February 25.

I’m especially thinking as I write this post of other manifestations of love that Woodson Art Museum staff and volunteers regularly are privileged to observe and learn about.

SPARK! volunteers, who work with older adults with memory loss and their care partners, share touching stories of poignant interactions in the gallery and in the classroom when the love shared by participants is unexpected and palpable.

Educators Catie Anderson and Lisa Hoffman have similarly impactful experiences with individuals with blindness and low vision who participate in the Museum’s Art Beyond Sight programs during each exhibition.

Lisa also takes delight in nurturing Art Babies. Could there possibly be more genuine love than that exchanged by new parents, grandparents, or caregivers who bring littlest ones to the Art Museum?

These examples are, of course, mostly observable. There are also equally love-filled encounters taking place in the Museum’s galleries and gardens almost daily. Sometimes we hear about them through comments shared with staff or via in-the-gallery feedback opportunities or through social media posts. The Woodson Art Museum has been the site of proposals, visits celebrating anniversaries, and wedding party photos in the sculpture garden.

And, there are the powerful — love-struck, perhaps — ways that visitors respond to artworks. An especially uplifting and bright landscape painting might bring sunshine to someone’s otherwise dark and gloomy mood.

An artist in residence working with school children or adults might boost the confidence of a reticent art maker, turning self-doubt into love for a new medium.

On Valentine’s Day — and every day — I am honored and proud to work with passionate colleagues in a love-filled environment.

Think about how expressions of love are manifest in your life. Include frequent Woodson Art Museum visits in your daily life and experience many unique forms of love throughout our galleries and grounds.


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