OctoBIRDfest through German Tourists’ Eyes

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on October 5th, 2011

I benefited from a “fresh eyes” fix on Saturday while guiding four German media representatives on a tour of the Woodson Art Museum. The Museum was one stop, coordinated by the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau, on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s fall international tour.
2011 Master Artist James Coe with Ute Bartels of Germany
Representing large- and medium-sized newspapers in the Rhein-Ruhr region (Germany’s most populated area), the Nuremberg region, and fourteen radio stations, this group was particularly interested in the international aspect of the 2011 Birds in Art exhibition. By turns, they each looked closely at artwork by two German artists, Bernd Pöppelmann and Ute Bartels, and were interested to learn that Bartels, a first-time Birds in Art artist, traveled to Wausau for the opening weekend festivities here last month.
They marveled at the varied depictions of birds, the works by Andy Warhol, John James Audubon, and three generations of Wyeths in A Collective Journey, and Steven Siegel’s Let’s fan out repurposed paper sculpture on the Museum’s grounds.
Meandering between large white tents and a pumpkin patch, they witnessed preparations for OctoBIRDfest, the annual fall festival that drew about 1,000 youngsters and family members to the sculpture garden later that day.
In a collective nod to central Wisconsin’s German heritage, OctoBERfests pop up throughout the area each fall – sometimes even in September. In Germany, a volksmarch can lead you – with walking stick in hand – from one village fest to another on an even grander scale. Having just seen Birds in Art, the Germans were amused by the OctoBIRDfest title.
What is it about hosting a tour that helps you see your own backyard anew, with the fresh perspective of a visitor’s first impression? It’s invigorating and satisfying to witness the delight and amazement on faces as visitors turn each corner and experience the Museum, inside and out, for the first time.
Make the Woodson Art Museum a stop on your itinerary the next time family and friends visit. For groups of ten or more and with three-weeks notice, we can arrange a docent-led guided tour. To lead your own group, consider checking out audio tour headsets, pick up events calendars, activity guides, and sculpture garden seek-and-find maps. Then experience the Museum and the ever-changing exhibitions anew through the “fresh eyes” of your visitors.

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