Origami Fosters Connections

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on February 20th, 2013

Like origami artworks held together via paper tucked into compatible pocket folds, collaboration is key to Woodson Art Museum programs for all ages. Often, as staff members plan and work alongside community partners, we develop soft spots for these people.

Michael assists visitors on opening day.
Roman with Little Masters participants, February. 19.

Two origami enthusiasts, ages 16 and 20, are helping lead paper-folding programs during this exhibition. Both, nudged by an art teacher or mom in the weeks before the origami opening, brought their folded-paper creations to the Museum to meet with education curators Catie Anderson and Jayna Hintz. Michael Schneider, a UW-Marshfield/Wood County student from Stratford, helped teach visitors to fold cranes during opening weekend and has shared his meticulous, pleat-folded origami models to be handled by Museum docents and examined by visiting students. Roman Baca, a Wausau West High School student, folds origami forms with 5- to 12-year-old children during Little Masters and Young Artists after-school programs at the Museum this week.

Michael with origami artist and WPR host Ruthanne Bessman

WAOW-TV9 reporter Rob Duns interviewed Roman for a Wandering Wisconsin segment airing today. This isn’t Roman’s first media interview. The Wausau Daily Herald’s Keith Uhlig interviewed Roman (and Michael, too) during the Museum members preview party for a front-page story and posted the interview video on the newspaper’s website.

Roman and Michael with Keith Uhlig

Maybe it’s just the mom in me, but seeing Roman and Michael at the preview party in their dress shirts and ties and accompanied by proud family members made me smile. As the Museum’s media liaison, I was tickled to connect them with reporters after each graciously and eagerly agreed to be interviewed.

Michael and his mother during the preview party.

Just as eagerly, I tried to facilitate another connection. After chatting with Michael’s mom and learning that they’re searching for colleges that best equip and nurture students for careers utilizing origami applications in math, science, technology, or architecture, I emailed origami artist Christine Edison. I’d gotten acquainted with Edison while facilitating a connection with Wisconsin Public Radio host Glen Moberg, who interviewed her during a recent Route 51 program. A Chicago Academy High School math teacher, Edison knows many origami artists who also are mathematicians and scientists working on cutting-edge, origami-inspired designs and inventions.

I hope Edison offers sound advice about where Michael can best further his education to pursue an origami-related career.

Like delicate origami artworks, we rely on one another and the connections we make to form and hold our lives together with increasingly beautiful complexity.

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