Spring Guitar Exhibition Strikes a Chord; Museum Receives Tourism Marketing Grant

WAUSAU, Wisc. – The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum will promote its spring exhibition, Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar, with the help of a $28,250 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant presented by Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. Woodson Art Museum visitors will experience the art and artistry of guitar design, February 28 through May 31, 2015, through design illustrations, guitars, and photographs of performing musicians bringing sound to life. Over thirteen weeks, the museum will host multiple programs for art and music fans alike, estimating an economic impact of over $295,000 from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants, and retail stores.

“We are thrilled to support the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in bringing this rocking new exhibition to the Wausau area,” said Klett, as part of the JEM grant announcement on December 4, 2014. “This museum is a gem in north central Wisconsin and this exhibition and related programs will help bring more people to experience all Wausau has to offer as well as create a positive economic impact in the community.”

In fiscal 2014, the Department funded 60 Joint Effort Marketing projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million dollars. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $28 million dollars. In 2013, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled an estimated $17.5 billion, a four percent increase over 2012. Total business sales in Marathon County topped 380 million in 2013, supporting nearly 5,000 jobs and more than $28 million in state and local taxes.

Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar, comprising more than forty guitars drawn from the collection of the National Guitar Museum in Fairfield, Connecticut, and an array of hands-on programs will demystify guitar-making processes and how design affects sound. The thirteen-week exhibition will feature dozens of programs open to the public that will educate and entertain visitors, including evening guitar performances, a guitar-making studio, and a hands-on “Sound Lab.” John Currier, a Wisconsin luthier and stringed-instrument expert, will be in residence at the Woodson Art Museum and demonstrate his guitar making and playing in early March. Guitar professor and classical guitar artist Michael Kudirka will offer a series of two-day presentations and recitals in late March and April. The museum hopes to attract 13,000 visitors from throughout Wisconsin as well as the Twin Cities and Chicago. JEM grant dollars will fund print and online advertising and a public relations plan.

Woodson Art Museum director Kathy Kelsey Foley expressed her delight and gratitude upon receiving the news of the JEM grant: “The Department of Tourism funding will allow the Museum to reach known guitar enthusiasts – players and listeners – via direct mail and social media, which is a promising and exciting marketing opportunity.”

Woodson Art Museum officials accept tourism grant from Secretary Stephanie Klett for the upcoming Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar

Woodson Art Museum staff members accept tourism grant from Secretary Stephanie Klett for the upcoming Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project’s first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun. By executing industry-leading marketing programs, providing reliable travel information and establishing strategic partnerships, we will play a significant role in delivering exceptional customer service and generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.

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