Ca·ma·ra·der·ie (käm-räd-r, kämräd-r): Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between or among friends.
When I think about of the Woodson Art Museum’s annual Birds in Art opening weekend events, it’s the word camaraderie that comes to mind. For thirty-four years the opening festivities have brought old and new friends to Wausau, Wisconsin.
The Thursday and Friday evening receptions make for long days for staff. After we finish our “day” jobs, we get revved up and dressed up for the evening events. It’s “all hands on deck” for all of us.
A typical evening reception kicks into high gear when the buses arrive from the Midway Hotel loaded with artists and their spouses/guests. Inside we’re at the ready to greet and answer questions. Smiling comes easy. I look for familiar faces while also making eye contact with those new to Birds in Art. Without exception the return looks are filled with joy, excitement, and anticipation.
Socializing has never been my favorite pastime. I prefer a good book and a quiet corner. However, Birds in Art has changed my feelings. I find myself cruising the galleries eager to chat with those I know or meet artists new to the exhibition.
Every year during the receptions I especially look forward to running into two of my high school teachers. This year I was chatting with Tim O’Conner about future Museum events and our plans to identify a comic book artist to lead workshops next summer. I learned that one of Tim’s former students now creates comic book art. What a great connection for me . . . just one of the many benefits of socializing or even more correctly, networking.
The camaraderie throughout this year’s Birds in Art opening weekend could not have been better. The time goes so quickly and before we know it, we’re back to our everyday routines. The memories are great and the many new friends made will make for even more opportunities to socialize next year.