Birds in Art 2020 on View at the Woodson Art Museum

Note: Exhibition extended, September 12 through February 21, 2021

Wausau, Wisconsin: Artwork from 114 artists from throughout the world will be included in the 45th annual “Birds in Art” exhibition, opening Saturday, September 12, 2020, at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. This year, 510 artists submitted 830 artworks for consideration by the three-person jury.

The exhibition includes artwork by the Museum’s 2020 Master Artist Timothy David Mayhew, 22 who were named Master Artists during previous “Birds in Art” exhibitions, and 91 artists whose work was selected by the jury. “Birds in Art,” which presents original paintings, sculptures, and graphics created within the last three years by worldwide artists, once again celebrates avian marvels through fresh artistic interpretations.

The first day to view “Birds in Art” 2020 will be Saturday, September 12. As a Covid-19 precaution, all “Birds in Art” opening-day festivities are suspended; there will be no Master Artist Talk and no Artists in Action on Saturday morning, September 12. Before visiting this fall, to know what to bring and expect. The Museum’s extended opening-weekend hours are 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 12, and 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday, September 13. Please note: Waiting to enter the Museum may be necessary. Capacity monitoring is for everyone’s safety.

“Birds in Art” 2020 is extended through Sunday, February 21, 2021. Before visiting, check

Ever inspired by avian muses, “Birds in Art” 2020 artists took cues from birds’ behavior and some incorporated quarantine themes, too. While Karen Bondarchuk drew parallels in her “Cache ‘n’ Carry” charcoal of blue jays competing at the feeder, much like shoppers at grocery stores last spring, Sherrie York’s linocut “A Tern of the Tide” features a solitary seabird, underscoring the importance of quiet moments alone but also of community. David Milton took a whimsical approach, while Nancy Howe used circling crows to convey its ominous nature. In Claire Duncan’s painting of white pelicans, one bold bird swivels to lead the swimming flock out of the advancing shadows, which she described as “a metaphor for the times in which we live.”

Other artists also reference birds’ work habits and amusing antics. Creating a vivid yellow watercolor painting of a spectacled weaver, Robin Berry used a giant calligraphy brush to paint the bird’s body in three bold strokes, as confidently as this bird when weaving its intricate nest. Tom Hill’s twisted wire sculpture captures two wacky birds’ interaction via the subtle tilt of their heads.

Highlighting the Museum’s 2020 Master Artist, a selection of artwork by New Mexico artist Timothy David Mayhew, also will be featured. In his oil paintings and natural-chalk drawings, Mayhew captures the essence of sensory experiences in the wild – the intricate complexity of reflections in water, bone-chilling cold during snow-geese migration, chukars’ animated interactions, and the magical pre-dawn glow in a marsh.

Prioritizing fieldwork is crucial to Mayhew. His four-decade-long intensive research into Old Master drawing materials yielded essential knowledge aiding his field studies. During the Renaissance, natural chalks were quarried from the earth and sawn into short sticks for drawing. Natural red and natural black chalk have unique properties, he says, “which enable drawings to survive rough handling in remote backcountry settings.” Learn more about Mayhew and his work in this 2020 Master Artist press release. See this list of 2020 “Birds in Art” artists’ names whose work will be included in the 2020 exhibition.

Whether through watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, wood, or bronze, artists convey captivating light, pattern, and texture as in, for example, the brilliant blue background of Jeremy Paul’s painting and delicate reeds supporting two birds in Walt Matia’s sculpture. “Birds in Art” 2020 artists depict avian wonders in innovative and varied ways sure to send spirits soaring.

In addition to artwork on view in the galleries, explore options for inspiration, reflection, and rejuvenation this fall. Although the Museum is curtailing in-person programs to help slow the spread of Covid-19, other opportunities abound.

• Sculpture Garden & Grounds: Soak up serenity and changing seasonal foliage. To embark on a seek-and-find sculpture quest, use a map with riddles as clues to find six small-scale sculptures.
• Art Park: Enjoy a rich visual array of studio materials and artist tools complemented by photographic vistas of “Birds in Art” artists’ work spaces.
• Sculpture Garden Yoga, Thursday, September 3, 5:30-6:30 pm, for adults: Experience yoga amid artwork in the sculpture garden – if weather permits this outdoor-only session – led by 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness instructors. Please register at and plan to bring and wear face coverings as well as bring mats or blankets. Session will be cancelled if weather requires; watch the 5 Koshas Facebook page for updates.
• Thursday Evenings This Fall: The Museum remains open until 7:30 pm on Thursday evenings – except when closed for the Thanksgiving holiday – throughout “Birds in Art,” scheduled to remain on view through Sunday, November 29.
• Classical Thursdays: Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra soloists or duet pairs enhance “Birds in Art” galleries visits. Details, when available, will be posted the Museum’s online calendar.
• Catalogue & Posters: The 134-page “Birds in Art” catalogue features every artwork along with artists’ statements; $22.50. Three distinct posters; $7.50 each.
• Videos: Get artist insights into a selection of “Birds in Art” artworks. Watch audio tour app videos this fall on your smartphone, tablet, and the Museum’s YouTube channel; all free.

For more information, visit, e-mail the Museum at, call 715-845-7010, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Woodson Art Museum Hours
Tues–Fri 9am–4pm
First Thurs of each month 9am–7:30pm
Thursdays during Birds in Art 9am–7:30pm
Sat–Sun Noon–5pm
Closed Mon & holidays, including New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas
Admission: Always Free Admission
Phone: 715.845.7010
Location: 700 N. 12th Street (Franklin & 12th Streets), Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007

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