This past Monday we were fortunate to celebrate our greeters and docents with a warm welcome at the Glass Box Studio for food, refreshments, and camaraderie. With schedules that might not overlap, volunteers and staff had time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
It’s easy for some people to perceive art communities as insular and privileged. In some fine art circles, an artist’s work has enormous value, while a designer’s work receives little recognition. It’s energizing to see the opposite is true at the Woodson Art Museum, where the lines between artist, designer, and maker always seem to be blurred.
On October 5, 2011, I began my journey as a Woodson Art Museum educator. To the Woodson Art Museum, all I can say is thank you for the memories, the friendships, the growth, and the time well spent over the past decade plus.
How can we nurture engagement and foster loyalty in our visitors? How can we engender in our volunteers a sense of pride in the Woodson Art Museum? These and other big-picture ideas and lofty aspirations take shape in various ways here – inclusive public programs accessible to all, enthusiastic and passionate staff, dynamic exhibitions, and pleasing public spaces, to name a few. These are notions I consider when working with new volunteer greeters and docents and this spring has been filled with many volunteer training sessions. In addition to teaching incoming docents about Museum collections or art interpretation, it’s important to communicate our underlying identity: a thoughtful, progressive, and barrier-free institution that seeks to enhance lives through art for all visitors and the north central Wisconsin communities it serves.
Last week the Woodson Art Museum hosted Wisconsin magician Lou Lepore as an artist-in-residence.* Lou brought to life theatrical themes of illusion, humor, and deception, which characterize the Museum’s current exhibitions.