Typically during the summer months, I’m happily organizing exhibitions to install in all the Museum’s permanent collection galleries. Covid-19 prompted rethinking installations to increase safety and social distancing. This fall, the west gallery where visitors usually peruse selections from the permanent collection will instead provide expanded space for Birds in Art so visitors can safely enjoy the 128 artworks comprising the exhibition. My next exciting challenge is preparing for March 6, 2021 when all the Woodson Art Museum’s galleries will feature works from the collection.
It’s not a secret; I love working at the Woodson Art Museum. What’s not to love? Each day I’m with fabulous colleagues, in a beautiful facility, surrounded by stunning artworks. Working with the Museum’s collection of thousands of historic and contemporary paintings, works on paper, and sculpture throughout forty years, I’ve curated more than 100 exhibitions. Where do I get the themes and how do I choose the artworks? That’s the challenge and joy. Rather than a recipe, it’s more like a jig-saw puzzle. The exhibition idea “picture” is there; getting the pieces in the right place is the goal.
The Perfect Situation is the title of a graphite drawing by Sue deLearie Adair that’s among recent acquisitions by the Woodson Art Museum and also encompasses the opening earlier this month of the 2019 Birds in Art exhibition. After months of work, hundreds of emails and phone calls, numerous Google searches, the production of a 134-page catalogue, artworks arriving from a dozen countries, and ultimately the installation in the galleries of 127 beautiful paintings, graphics, and sculptures, the Museum shares the exhibition with the public.
I often share my excitement about featuring the Woodson Art Museum’s paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts in exhibitions. Because the care of those treasured artworks is vital, I consider the continuing research and education to ensure I’m using the latest techniques and proper conservation supplies equally fascinating and challenging.
As promised in my June 20 Woodson Wanderings blog post, here’s a sneak peek at another upcoming exhibition from the Woodson Art Museum’s inspiring collection.
It’s a relief when months of planning and managing a hundred details come together successfully. The final touches are being added to three new permanent collection exhibitions.
My focus, as curator of collections, is on those artworks comprising the permanent collection. I’m challenged to combine varied works into themed exhibitions. With thoughtful goals and discerning standards, our collection sets the standard for avian-and nature-themed art. The exhibition installations that will begin in early August will substantiate this claim.
I love springtime. After the long, snowy, cold winter, I want to relish every minute, feel the warm sun, smell the fresh air, and enjoy the vibrant flowers and verdant grass. As curator of collections, spring signals planning time for me, and the realization that each of the five exhibition spaces used for Museum collections will be reinstalled before September 1. That might seem daunting; sometimes it is. But mostly for me, it’s thrilling. To work with our beautiful and varied collection is exciting. I love hearing visitors comment as they encounter an artwork they haven’t seen for a while or even gasp when seeing a recent acquisition.