Botanical Art on View this Summer

Wausau, Wisconsin: Spotlighting the ephemeral beauty and variety of plant life, two botanical art exhibitions open at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum on Saturday, June 8.

Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora” highlights U.S. indigenous plants – from cacti and trees to woodland flowers – with a goal to increase appreciation and understanding of the world’s plant diversity and its interconnectedness. An array of North American flora, both familiar and rare, is meticulously depicted in watercolor and other mediums. Curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the United States Botanic Garden, the exhibition is part of a worldwide project emphasizing the importance of conserving botanical diversity and linking people with plants via botanical art.

Flora, Fauna, Font: Illustrating the Alphabet,” features Kandis Vermeer Phillips’ illuminated alphabet adorned with plants, mammals, and insects. Phillips integrated extensive research into the history of medieval illuminated manuscripts – embellished with luminous colors – into an alphabet primer for her granddaughter. She combined decorative letters with representations of flowers and creatures found in her garden and during family travels. This exhibition was organized by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Both exhibitions remain on view at the Woodson Art Museum through August 25.

Hands-on Programs for All Ages Make Exhibition Connections
Museum programs for all ages will bring to life themes, artistic styles, and techniques from this summer’s botanical art exhibitions and the Museum’s collection exhibitions. Nourish creativity, sure to thrive and flourish in Art Park – the Museum’s interactive family gallery – where all ages explore hands-on activities, reading, and multisensory play. A living plant library inspires drawing, and five-foot alphabet letters inspire imaginary play and fun photo opportunities. Also, explore botanical art themes via the Museum’s free Activity Guide, designed for use by all ages, in the galleries and at home.

Summer highlights include:
• Guest curator Carol Woodin’s opening-day presentation, “Botanical Art Worldwide: Global Initiative Insights,” on Saturday, June 8, 1-2 p.m.
• Sculpture Garden Yoga, Art 101, and Hands-on Art programs during Night Out @ the Woodson on the first Thursday of June and August
• “The Wonders of Willow & Basketry” programs, including a presentation and three workshops for teens and adults, June 21-23, led by artist Bonnie Gale.
• A botanical art gallery walk, studio workshop, and in-gallery painting demonstration, August 1-4, by artist Wendy Brockman.
For more about these and other Museum programs, see details below and check the online events calendar.

Adults participate in Sculpture Garden Yoga on Thursdays, June 6 and August 1 – if weather permits these outdoor-only sessions – led by a 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness instructor, 5:30-6:30 p.m., during Night Out @ the Woodson. Please register at Bring a mat or blanket. Sessions will be cancelled if weather requires; watch the 5 Koshas Facebook page for updates.

Also, during Night Out @ the Woodson on June 6 and August 1, adults learn something new during Art 101, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and all ages drop in for Hands-on Art, 5:30-7 p.m. During Art 101: Collection Conversation, on Thursday, June 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Wednesday, June 19, 12:15-1 p.m., learn about the journey of artworks to their permanent home in the Museum’s collection. Curator of collections Jane Weinke will clarify the acquisition process and share the history of works included in “A Collection Medley.”

During “Botanical Art Worldwide: Global Initiative Insights,” on Saturday, June 8, 1-2 p.m., learn more about the coordinated, international effort to increase appreciation of the world’s plant diversity from guest curator Carol Woodin. “Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora,” organized by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the United States Botanic Garden, is one of twenty-five endeavors. Get backstories about some of these projects, the artworks, and native plant species from six continents.

SPARK! programs for individuals with memory loss and an accompanying friend or family member on June 13, July 11, and August 8, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, offer social interaction in the galleries, followed by a hands-on art activity; call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During Toddler Tuesdays on the third Tuesday of each month, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, little ones, 18 months-4 years, and accompanying adults drop in to sample art making and interactive play in Art Park. During an Extra Terrific Toddler Tuesday on July 16, drop-in family yoga sessions will be offered in the sculpture garden – weather permitting – in addition to art-making stations.

“The Wonders of Willow & Basketry,” June 21-23, features artist Bonnie Gale leading three workshops for teens and adults and a presentation. Gale, a New York-based artist and landscape designer who has used willow as her primary medium since the early 1980s, returns to lead programs a year after constructing her site-specific “Living Willow Dreams” – a seven-foot-tall, domed, willow structure – in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. An accomplished willow basketry artist, Bonnie’s programs weave together the themes of this summer’s botanical art exhibitions. A grant from The Dudley Foundation supported “Living Willow Dreams.” A grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation supports the Bonnie Gale artist residency.
• Polish Bread Baskets: Teen & Adult Workshop, Friday, June 21, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Bonnie guides participants in weaving willow rods into attractive and functional bread baskets, based on the Polish Tatzca basket. All levels of experience welcome. Fee: $55 for members; $70 for non-members; includes prepared materials and lunch. A list of supplies to bring will be provided. Call 715-845-7010 to register.
• “Willow Dreams: The Art of Bonnie Gale,” Saturday, June 22, 1-2 p.m. – Working with willow since 1983, Bonnie Gale’s living structures are rooted in traditional willow basketry. Join Bonnie as she presents images and stories documenting the progression of her career and her dreams for future work.
• Garden Sphere Weaving: Teen & Adult Workshop, Saturday, June 22, 2:30-6 p.m. – Create an attractive, random-weave garden sphere, measuring fifteen inches in diameter, with guidance from Bonnie Gale. All levels of experience welcome. Fee: $45 for members; $60 for non-members. A small pre-woven base, prepared materials, and weatherproofing information are included. A list of supplies to bring will be provided. Call 715-845-7010 to register.
• Pea Cage Trellis: Teen & Adult Workshop, Sunday, June 23, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – With instruction from Bonnie, create a pea cage trellis – up to five feet tall – for climbing plants. Using jigs for support, participants work at tables to place, secure, and weave presoaked willow rods, yielding striking sculptural designs for the garden. All levels of experience welcome. Fee: $75 for members; $90 for non-members; includes prepared materials and lunch. A list of supplies to bring will be provided. Call 715-845-7010 to register.

Check the events calendar and call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register for Art Time for Tots, Art 4 You, and Art Babies programs offered each month.

During Art Park Open Studio on the first Saturday of each month, 1-3 p.m., all ages drop in for hands-on art making inspired by artwork on view in the galleries.

Art 101: Botanical Art Gallery Walk, Wednesday, July 17, 12:15-1 p.m., features a virtual walk across the American landscape; plants from all regions are represented in “America’s Flora,” part of a worldwide initiative celebrating native plants. Join Museum educator Lisa Hoffman to learn more about botanical art during this gallery walk that includes “Flora, Fauna, Font,” too.

During Treasuring Memories, on Wednesday, July 24, 1-3 p.m., children, teens, and families coping with the death of a loved one create memorial art for a garden, walkway, or special space of remembrance. Participants may bring small mementos to incorporate into the project. This free event offers the opportunity to share memories and reflections of loved ones. Questions? Call Amy Kitsembel at the Aspirus Grief Center, 715-847-2703. To register, call the Museum at 715-845-7010.

During South Beach Up North: The Schumanns, Thursday, July 25, 7:30-9 p.m., cellist and Wausau native Michael Andrews returns to the Museum with South Beach Up North musicians, celebrating the brilliance of pianist and composer Clara Schumann (1819-1896) and composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856) with the former’s Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17 and the latter’s Piano Trio No. 2 in F Major, Op. 80.

During a “Botanical Art” artist residency, August 1-4, Wendy Brockman leads a gallery walk, studio workshop, and in-gallery painting demonstration complementing “Botanical Art Worldwide.” Known and admired for her elegant and exacting depictions of bird nests, Minnesota-based artist Wendy Brockman shares her expertise and enthusiasm for botanical art. A grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation supports the Wendy Brockman artist residency.
• Art 101: Guest Artist Gallery Walk, Thursday, August 1, 5:30-6:30 p.m., join Wendy Brockman for insights into the artworks, aesthetics, and subjects featured in “America’s Flora.” Wendy also will discuss the history of botanical art and the varied approaches artists take when depicting these subjects.
• Botanical Sketchbook Journals: Teen & Adult Workshop, Friday & Saturday, August 2 & 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Join Wendy for a two-day, mixed-media workshop combining botanical drawings and typography to create distinctive botanical sketchbook journals. Participating teens and adults sharpen drawing and painting skills while exploring science and creative expression. Working in various mediums, participants incorporate their own interests and style as Wendy guides them in creating striking artwork layered with meaning and personal narrative. Fee: $85 for members; $100 for non-members; includes most materials and lunch both days. Information about materials to bring will be provided. Call 715-845-7010 to register.
• Artist Demonstration, Sunday, August 4, 1-2 p.m. – Ask questions and observe Wendy Brockman as she develops a detailed watercolor botanical painting amid “America’s Flora” artworks.

Art Beyond Sight, on Saturday, August 17, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, is designed for individuals with low vision or blindness. Participants join Museum educators for a multisensory exploration of the galleries followed by hands-on art making inspired by “Flora, Fauna, Font.” Call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During Art 101: Master Gardener Garden Walk, Wednesday, August 21, 12:15-1 p.m., join Master Gardeners for plant-life insights while strolling the Museum grounds.

For details about these and other programs, check the online events calendar at
For more information, visit, e-mail the Museum at, call 715-845-7010, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora” was curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the United States Botanic Garden. “Flora, Fauna, Font: Illustrating the Alphabet” was organized by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a Research Division of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Wausau Homes is the presenting sponsor of the summer exhibitions; 5 Koshas is the programming sponsor. Additional exhibition and educational support comes from Jim and Sue Konkel. Exhibitions and programs are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Marketing supported in part by City of Wausau Room Tax funds. Support for hands-on art-making supplies comes from Wilmington Trust and the M&T Charitable Foundation.

Woodson Art Museum Hours
Tues–Fri 9am–4pm
First Thurs of each month (except Sept. 6, 2018) 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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