Celebrating milestones has always been part of my culture. As a family, we celebrated religious achievements, sporting events, school programs, and birthdays – any reason to come together for food and fun. The current Woodson Art Museum exhibition, Beyond Artworks: Artists & Their Stories, on view through June 6, is another reason to celebrate. The exhibition honors nearly forty-five years of thoughtful acquisitions enhancing the Museum’s collection. Not only are the artworks outstanding but the stories offer visitors ways to discover amazing facts about artworks and reasons to celebrate. Follow these links for a virtual tour via images and video and visit soon and often this spring.
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.
For inspiration, check out this video by Woodson Art Museum staff, encouraging all to sculpt small-scale snow creations with everyday objects as tools. This link to a snow-sculpture-themed Art Kit offers ideas and activities to spark creativity, too.
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.
Yet another appreciative message is buoying staff spirits: a hand-painted card of thanks to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum for providing Art Kits to encourage artistic pursuits.
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.