National Geographic Photographs, Whistler Etchings, Ballet Masks on View at Woodson Art Museum

Wausau, Wisconsin: Three distinct exhibitions featuring iconic photographs from National Geographic magazine, etchings by American artist James McNeill Whistler, and masks donned by Wausau-area ballet dancers open Saturday, November 22, at the Woodson Art Museum. All three exhibitions remain on view through February 22, 2015.

Whether captured amid split-second serendipity or lengthy preparation, 50 Greatest National Geographic Photographs are some of the most compelling from the magazine’s more-than-120-year history. Among the included photographs are Steve McCurry’s unforgettable Afghan girl, Michael Nichols’ iconic Jane Goodall and chimpanzee, Thomas Abercrombie’s never-before-seen view of Mecca, and images of anonymous people’s lives and moments in nature with animals on land and underwater.

The stories behind these iconic images and the photographers who captured them are as varied as the subjects in each frame. Michael “Nick” Nichols spent a year amid California’s majestic redwoods, planning how to photograph their enormity. From the ground, a viewer sees only one-sixteenth of a tree. Ultimately, a team tethered three cameras together and hoisted them to create a three-image horizontal panoramic, shot in vertical layers as the cameras were lowered in three-meter increments.

Kevin Schafer immersed himself in nearly opaque Amazon River waters to photograph ghostly images of unusual pink dolphins. Visibility in water the color of tomato juice was measured in inches. Consequently, Schafer emerged with close-up photos of “spirits appearing out of the gloom.”

Other scenes unfurl through sequenced “near frame” shots bracketing the final, published photograph. Amy Toensing, dispatched to document a severe seven-year drought in southeast Australia, watched a composition of the parched landscape materialize, framed through a pickup truck window. In the foreground a little girl covered her windswept face with her hands, while the rearview mirror revealed a farmer lifting his son from the truck bed. The resulting image tells the tale of the drought’s impact and, more broadly, of a worldwide need for river-system management.

50 Greatest National Geographic Photographs is produced and traveled by National Geographic. Generous support from The Samuels Group enables “50 Greatest” to be presented at the Woodson Art Museum.

James McNeill Whistler: Realism in Print

Everyday scenes of austere mid-nineteenth-century dockyards and domestic life are depicted in etchings by a revered nineteenth-century American artist in James McNeill Whistler: Realism in Print, organized by the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont.

Whistler, best known for the painting Arrangement in Grey and Black (a.k.a. Whistler’s Mother), was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1834 and spent most of his adult life in Europe. Considered one of the greatest painters of the nineteenth century, his etchings also are highly renowned and feature innovative, realistic portrayals of ordinary people and places, from his young nephew’s innocence and tousled hair to the contrasting glow and shadows cast on laborers at a forge. Artwork from the late 1850s to 1880 reveals Whistler’s stylistic development, shifting from heavily hatched and cross-hatched etchings to a lighter Impressionist feel.

En Pointe: Central Wisconsin School of Ballet Unmasked

To celebrate the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet’s 45th anniversary, expressive masks along with initial design sketches – created for Wausau Dance Theatre’s Alice in Wonderland will be featured in En Pointe: Central Wisconsin School of Ballet Unmasked.

The oversized masks were designed and fabricated ten years ago by Joyce and Bob Ritz of Integrity Designworks “to pull characters off the pages of storybooks,” said Patrik Kasper, Wausau Dance Theatre artistic director. Utilizing elaborate masks instead of relying on stage makeup for character identification gives Wausau Dance Theatre’s “Alice in Wonderland” production a fairy-tale quality.

Programs for All Ages Include Exhibition Themes and the Sister Arts

An array of programs for all – from babies through older adults – and complementing artwork on view will incorporate the sister arts: poetry, snow sculpture, yoga, dance, and more. Visit for specific listings.

During Night Out @ the Woodson, the Museum remains open until 7:30 pm for gallery strolls and an array of programs on the first Thursday of each month, except on New Year’s Day, January 1. Adults learn about the initials and symbols that serve as makers’ marks in printmaking and ceramics during Art 101: Chop Mark Survey, Thursday, December 4, 5:30-6:30 p.m. All ages drop in to create an identifying signature to distinguish their artwork during Hands-on Art: Design a Chop Mark, Thursday, December 4, 5:30-7 p.m.

Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland leads programs blending literature and the visual arts. Garland reads his work, followed by a creative-writing open mic during Photography & Poetry: Reading & Reception, Friday, December 5, 5-7 p.m. All ages are encouraged to listen and read their work along with members of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and also stroll the galleries and enjoy refreshments.

During Be Transported: Poetry Workshop, Saturday, December 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Garland offers modern examples of poetry in response to other artworks or “ekphrastic poetry” and then participating adults will create and share their writing. Bring a bagged lunch; call 715-845-7010 to register.

Beginning in December, the Museum’s monthly SPARK! programs for individuals with memory-care needs and accompanying friends or family members will be offered on a new date and time: the second Thursday of each month, December 11, January 8, and February 12, 10:30 a.m.-Noon; call 715-845-7010 to register.

Art Beyond Sight provides a multisensory 50 Greatest gallery and art-making experience for individuals with blindness and low vision, Saturday, January 17, 10:30 a.m.-Noon. Call 715-845-7010 to register.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Museum’s snow-sculpture partnership with Team USA Snow Sculptors, Mike Martino, Tom Queoff, and Mike Sponholtz carve their portraits – Mount Rushmore style – to create Mt. Snowmore, Saturday and Sunday, January 24 and 25, Noon-5 p.m.

Discover how a sports photography legacy developed during Capturing the Packers: 75 Years of Biever Family Photography, Sunday, January 25, 1-2 p.m., led by Matt Foss, Museum project coordinator. Vernon, John, and Jim Biever have seen and captured it all, from Curly Lambeau to Mike McCarthy and from Don Hutson to Jody Nelson.

Children, teens, and families coping with the death of a loved one express their feelings by making a memory box during Treasuring Memories, Tuesday, January 27, 4-6 p.m. Participants should bring mementos to incorporate into the project. Questions? Call Amy Kitsembel at the Aspirus Grief Center, 715-847-2703. To register, call 715-845-7010.

All ages create Valentine’s Day cards during Love Letters: Kitchen Lithography, Saturday, January 31, 1-4 p.m., with guidance from Daniel Goscha, executive director of The Mill Paper & Book Arts Center, Madison. Fee: $5 for Museum members; $10 for non-members. Call 715-845-7010 to register.

During February’s Night Out @ the Woodson, join director Kathy Kelsey Foley amid an En Pointe backdrop for a discussion of the integral role artists play in theater and dance costume and set design during Art 101: Artists on Stage, Thursday, February 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m. All ages drop in to form small clay faces for theatrical keepsakes during Hands-on Art: Miniature Clay Masks, 5:30-7 p.m. Adults drop-in for a Yoga & Art session led by a Croi Cróga Studio instructor, Thursday, February 5, 6:15-7:15 p.m.

During A Mad Hatter Valentine Tea, Saturday, February 14, 1-3 p.m., children and accompanying adults make Mad Hatter hats to wear to this cupid- and Wonderland-inspired tea party, joining Alice and the wacky hatter himself for “tea” and heart-shaped cookies. Fee: $5 per child; call 715-845-7010 to register.

Wausau Dance Theatre dancers lead little ones in trying ballet basics, as part of Toddler Tuesday, February 17, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, which will include Wonderland-themed art projects for children, 18 months-4 years, and accompanying adults.

Area teens are invited for peer-planned opinionated art tours, art-making activities, music, and food during Teens Night Out, Friday, February 20, 6-8 p.m. The Museum’s Teen Art Council plans events just for teens during monthly meetings, convening after school in area high schools, on a rotating basis. To learn more about TAC, call Jayna Hintz at 715-845-7010.

For program details, visit to see the Museum’s events calendar.

Avian-Themed Collections Exhibitions Remain on View

Four of six Woodson Art Museum collection exhibitions that opened this fall remain on view through February 2015: For the Birds: Rare and Extinct, Birdwatching: Selections from the Collection, The Art of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions, and Carved & Cast. Two additional collection-based exhibitions remain on view through July 2015: Legacy Lost & Saved: Extinct and Endangered Birds of North America, inspired by Project Passenger Pigeon, a nationwide educational initiative marking the centennial of the species’ extinction, and The Great Marsh: Horicon Waterfowl.

For more information, visit, e-mail the Museum at, or call 715-845-7010.

Woodson Art Museum

Tues–Fri 9am–4pm
First Thurs each month 9am–7:30pm
Thurs 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, Christmas

Admission: Always Free Admission
Phone: 715.845.7010
After hours press inquiries: 715.298.2901

Location: Franklin and 12th Streets, Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007
(700 N. Twelfth Street)

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