Saving Dishes

By: Matt Foss on September 28th, 2016

Next week, Connecticut-based painter and Birds in Art artist Sean Murtha will spend five days in residence at the Woodson Art Museum. We look forward to his residency because he, like us, works in a museum.

Hardworking, underpaid, committed to educating the public, and fueled by coffee or Diet Coke ®, museum staff workers are like school teachers without the lanyards. Working at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Sean is well versed in the behind-the-scenes museum world.

Hosting a full-time working artist for a residency is the equivalent of a first date. You make sure your appearance is perfect and remain tense, careful not to expose any flaws.

Hosting an artist who’s also a museum professional is the equivalent of the third year of marriage. All of a sudden, you’re eating ice cream from the carton and don’t care if you haven’t shaved in the last week.

While Woodson staff members are comfortable and happy working with all artists in residence, we might just be a little more relaxed around another museum professional. If a light bulb is burnt out, a label is not level, or if the loading dock is so filled with crates that it looks like the closing scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, other museum professionals understand.

Sean Murtha (left) and former museum professional Paul Rhymer (right) discussing Paul's work at the public opening of Birds in Art.

Sean Murtha (left) and retired museum professional Paul Rhymer (right) discussing Paul’s work at the public opening of Birds in Art.

Sean’s residency will be a real humdinger. Besides working with students during class visits to the Museum and discussing his art and process with the public during Night Out @ the Woodson, he’ll lead a plein-air painting workshop during arguably the most beautiful time to be outdoors in northern Wisconsin.

Sean's painting for this year's Birds in Art

Sean’s painting featured in this year’s Birds in Art exhibition.

Both first-time and repeat Woodson Art Museum visitors can expect to be enamored with the week’s events. Additionally, I won’t care one iota if Sean finds me in the breakroom polishing off that Rocky Road without using a bowl.


P.S. Call the Museum at 715.845.7010 to register for the Saturday, October 8, plein-air workshop.

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