Although Earth Day is April 22 and Slow Art Day was April 10, carrying the spirit of these days throughout many more may be among the best ways to observe them. Earth Day 2021 includes activities spanning three days, and taking time to linger in a Woodson Art Museum gallery and appreciate art slowly is a good idea year round.
No surprise that as the Woodson Art Museum’s director, I hear a lot of stories, from first-hand experiences in our galleries to hearsay about a friend of a friend who enjoyed a Woodson traveling exhibition at a distant venue. I welcome them all. In fact, there’s nothing quite like an unexpected story from a far-flung locale.
Water-cooler talk is socially distanced and topics limited to those that can be shared with projected voices along hallways and across office thresholds. With much of “typical” life on pause, conversation about pets provides common ground, different daily tales, humor, and an opportunity to truly help one another through advice and suggestions. I think I can safely say shared pet stories have enhanced our mental health and camaraderie.
Absent a reliable roadmap for moving forward in the coronavirus journey, kindness, flexibility, and honesty can be put into action daily.
We’re modeling these behaviors at the Woodson Art Museum, warmly and sincerely welcoming visitors back to our galleries, even though masks obscure our delighted smiles.
I recently hunted in my jewelry box for a unique jigsaw puzzle piece, designed and decorated by my daughter when she was 7 years old. At the time, the thousand-piece puzzle under construction in the family room actually contained only 999 pieces, courtesy of our basset hound’s surreptitiousness. My compassionate daughter remedied the situation with her carefully crafted cardboard surrogate, which completed the puzzle and restored the dog’s good standing.
As we turned the calendar page to 2021, “hope” for the year ahead is a shared theme.
Heartfelt evidence came to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum staff via the U.S. Postal Service in the latter days of December from an Aspirus Wausau Hospital nurse.
For the past seven months, in lieu of hands-on art-making activities, Museum staff have lovingly and creatively designed and produced Art Kits to complement artworks on view and encourage busy hands and artistic pursuits.
Collaborating as a team at the Woodson Art Museum is much like building a gingerbread house with my family. Colleagues work together, sharing stories of the past while working toward the future.
It was the light and atmosphere. I knew it. I’d experienced it. I missed it.
Know me for longer than two minutes and you’ll quickly learn that I once lived along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The three years I spent in Colorado were some of the best of my life. Many Midwesterners flocked there at the time. My theory on the mass transplantation was that Wisconsinites appreciate the four seasons but prefer Colorado’s milder version of each.