A Student, an Art Museum, and a Hope Diamond

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on November 12th, 2014

Whether it begins with “once upon a time” or “a guy walks into a bar,” who doesn’t love a good story?

blogStorytelling4Nov12-14Would you rather listen to a story that illustrates a point or be pummeled with piles of statistics?

Stories stir, numbers numb, and jargon jars.

That’s the pithy point, the gold-nugget takeaway unearthed by author Andy Goodman during a recent “Power of Storytelling” workshop in Milwaukee for dozens of non-profit organization representatives. Goodman’s mission is to help “do-gooders learn to do better.”


blogStorytelling2Nov12-14Stories act like software in the hardware of our brains, Goodman contends, determining what facts sink in and filtering how we think, process, and decide.

We never quite outgrow the childlike, plaintive plea: “tell me a story.”

The storytelling key? Focus on a person who has a goal, encounters a barrier, and reacts to overcome it.


blogStorytelling1Nov12-14Here’s a tale to illustrate student attendance statistics – the thousands who come to the Woodson Art Museum with classmates to meet and interact with visiting artists.

Amber, an older University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student who after modeling prom and wedding dresses for 15 years and assembling alteration scraps into recycled garments was “struggling to find a place in the world for my creative outlet as well as professional purpose.” Her UW-SP arts management class met with artist Nancy Judd last spring to learn about Nancy’s recycled couture in her ReDress: Upcycled Style exhibition.

“I had the opportunity to meet a person who’s living my dream,” Amber said. “It was an honor to show my most proud accomplishment to an artist who I feel truly understands the emotional energy behind it. Although I have yet to figure out where I belong in the art world, seeing this exhibition has given me hope that there might be a place for me.” The experience validated her career-path choice and provided insight into museum workings, as well. “Thank you to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and the courteous and considerate staff for taking the time to truly reach out and educate someone.”

What has inspired you during visits to the Woodson Art Museum? I’d love to hear from you; email or call me at abeck@lywam.org or 715.845.7010.

Please tell me your stories. I just know there are multifaceted, iridescent gems worthy of being collected, cherished, and shared – happily ever after.


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