It might not be easy to get to Oklahoma when you call Wisconsin “home,” but my visit this week to Idabel – in the lower, southeast corner of the Sooner State – was worth the effort.
My destination was the Museum of the Red River, where the Woodson Art Museum-organized 2015 Birds in Art exhibition is currently on view.
I left Wausau’s Central Wisconsin Airport on Monday afternoon. After plane changes in Chicago and Dallas, I arrived in Texarkana, Arkansas, after sunset. A ninety-mile drive, courtesy of long-time friend and Museum of the Red River director Henry Moy, brought me to Idabel close to midnight.
Henry and the cheerful staff of the Museum of the Red River were terrific guides, providing an introduction to Idabel and McCurtain County and also showing off the museum’s superb ethnographic collections as well as the spaces under construction and the exciting expansion plans.
It’s always a treat to see Birds in Art in another venue. The Museum of the Red River’s installation is beautifully done, highlighting both contrasting and complementary pairings to maximum advantage.
On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of talking about the Woodson Art Museum, Birds in Art, and the exhibition’s origins and then joining the group of two-dozen+ in the galleries. We looked at some of my favorite artworks and I responded to questions. Whether an art-lover or a bird-lover or both, participants’ appreciation for the exhibition again demonstrated its broad appeal.
Wednesday morning kicked off well before sunrise with a return drive to Texarkana, retracing Monday’s routing.
Coincidentally, I – along with multiple Woodson Art Museum staff members – am proofreading the 2016 Birds in Art catalogue pages while traveling. Seeing the 2015 touring exhibition in Idabel was like re-acquainting with old friends while looking forward to the September debut of the next edition of Birds in Art.