Since 1999, the Woodson Art Museum has presented dynamic artist residencies filled with programs for students, educators, area artists, and visitors of all ages. Artists offer insights on diverse mediums through public programs and site-specific installations, providing firsthand experiences with passionate and knowledgeable creators.
Who’s Up Next
Mariette Nowak, author of Birdscaping in the Midwest, discusses native plants that attract, shelter, and feed birds to enhance backyard birdwatching; she will sign books after the program.
Convergence: Where Art, Writing, and Conservation Meet, Thursday – Saturday October 5 – 7
Explore the intersection of the arts, humanities, and natural sciences with environmental stewardship through programs featuring writer and outdoorsman John Gierach, plein-air painter Bob White, photographer Mike Dvorak, forest ecologist Alan Haney, and conservation biologist Eric Anderson. Through public presentations, art making, a panel discussion, and gallery conversation, these guest artists, authors, and scientists invite participants to consider varied ways to understand, appreciate, and protect the natural world.
Tennessee-based Birds in Art artists Rachelle and Wes Siegrist are internationally recognized for their paintings on small canvases, usually less than nine square inches. Drawing upon their experiences as artists and instructors and their admiration for nature, the Siegrists incorporate the centuries-old traditions of miniature artwork into their twenty-first-century practices. During their residency, the husband-and-wife team work with visiting students creating miniature watercolor paintings and present public demonstrations, presentations, and a workshop for teens and adults. Registration for residency programs begins after August 30.
Recent Guest Artist Programs
Raku with Reineking: Teen & Adult Three-Part Workshop
Professor Catya von Karolyi, Saturday, March 18, 1 – 2 pm
Recognizing impossible figures, like those found in Escher’s artwork, has been associated with artistic talent and also with dyslexia. During her March 18 lecture, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire psychology professor Catya von Karolyi presented research about these relationships and discussed the importance of nurturing visual spatial abilities in the classroom and with children at home.
Lindsy Parrott, Saturday, December 3, 1 – 2 pm
Lindsy Parrott, director of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and Tiffany Glass exhibition curator introduced visitors to the exhibition, offering a Saturday afternoon program on the methods, artisans, and materials that made Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios American art icons.
Ecologists Alan Haney and Eric Anderson, November 3 and 16
During two November Art 101 presentations, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources emeriti professors Alan Haney and Eric Anderson presented research on the uncertain biodiversity of the northern Midwest in the face of climate change and other human-caused disruptions. Based on Alan’s extensive field research in the southern boreal forest, he and Eric discussed how relationships between birds and their habitats are affected by natural and manmade disturbances.
Sculptor Gene Reineking, Tuesday – Sunday, November 8 – 13
During his weeklong residency, Wisconsin sculptor and Birds in Art artist Gene Reineking worked with over 230 area elementary, middle, and high school students, led a two-day soapstone carving workshop, and offered evening programs for the public.
During their residency visits, students grades 5-12 created low-relief soapstone carvings of feathers using hand tools under the guidance of sculptor Gene Reineking.
Artist Timothy David Mayhew in Residence, Thursday – Sunday, October 20 – 23
During his residency, New Mexico-based Birds in Art artist Timothy David Mayhew shared his passion for now-rare natural chalks, used by Old Master artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, which Mayhew has studied for the past four decades. Utilizing these traditional chalks for his field and studio work, Mayhew creates careful studies of North American wildlife and birds in their environments. In addition to natural black, red, and white chalk drawings, Mayhew translates his extensive field observation into elegant oil paintings. Area high school students, program participants, and visitors learned about Mayhew’s chalk and metal-point drawing techniques concurrent with the Wisconsin Science Festival.
Artist Sean Murtha in Residence, Tuesday-Saturday, October 4 – 8
Connecticut-based Birds in Art artist Sean Murtha shared his love for capturing the natural world in the pages of his sketchbook with over 200 students who worked with the artist in the Museum’s classroom. Visiting students used chalk pencils on toned paper (just like Sean does while working in the field) to sketch avian sculptures from the Museum’s collection.
During his five-day residency, Sean offered insights into his work as an artist, naturalist, and museum professional during his Thursday event Art 101 program, and leads a plein-air painting workshop.
Birds in Art Artists, September 10
Birds in Art artists from around the world joined community members for opening weekend festivities at the Woodson Art Museum on September 10. Nine exhibition artists demonstrated various mediums during Artists in Action, 10:45 am-Noon, while dozens of other exhibition artists, including Master Artist Karen Bondarchuk, strolled the galleries and sculpture garden Saturday morning talking with visitors and signing catalogues and posters.
The Myth Makers, June 21 – 25
Boston artists Donna Dodson and Andy Morelein , known as The Myth Makers, constructed a twenty-foot-tall sculpture called The Dance of a sandhill crane pair as a site-specific work using Wausau-area saplings. The Myth Makers offered a series of public programs during their residency, which included hands-on art making, creative writing, and Art Beyond Sight programs.
Snapshot Science, April 2, 7, 16 & 20
Snapshot Science educator Stephen Schmidt and designer Brian Gunning offered programs focused on hands-on learning and experimentation inspired by Walter Wick’s photographic illustrations. Participants created optical illusions in paper during the April 2 Art Park Open Studio and Hands-on-Art on Thursday, April 7 during Night Out @ the Woodson. Saturday, April 16, families stopped by the Museum’s makeshift science lab and tried out experiments from Wick’s A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder.
Poet Laureate Kim Blaeser, Friday, March 4
Wisconsin 2015-16 Poet Laureate, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor, and artist Kim Blaeser visited the Art Museum and University of Wisconsin-Marathon County in early March, offering workshops, readings, and events for area writers and students. Blaeser’s Woodson Art Museum programs combined the visual and verbal arts and included a Picto-Poetry Workshop and a public reading.
Artist Walter Wick, Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28
Photographic illustrator Walter Wick kicked off the Woodson Art Museum’s opening of Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic with book signings and programs for the public. Visitors learned how the artist creates the striking photographs, optical illusions, and playful seek-and-find images featured in his celebrated series including I SPY, Can You See What I See?, and his latest book, Hey, Seymour! Wick’s opening weekend programs included Learning through Play on Saturday, February 27, 3:30 – 5 pm and Can You See What I See?, Sunday, February 28, 1 – 2 pm.
Wausau Conservatory of Music, February 14 Sunday 1:30 – 3 pm
Visitors celebrated Valentine’s Day at the Museum, accompanied by pianist Mara Beckman and Wausau Conservatory of Music students who performed works by impressionist composers such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Artist David Kapszukiewicz, Thursday – Saturday, January 7 – 9
Working in oil, Tomahawk artist David Kapszukiewicz finds inspiration in techniques and subjects utilized by American Impressionist painters whose passions for nature, working en plein air, and capturing ever-changing light fueled their work. Complementing artwork on view in the American Impressionism galleries, Kapszukiewicz’s residency included Art 101 programs on Thursday, January 7 and Wednesday, January 21; painting demonstrations in the Museum’s galleries and an oil painting workshop for area teens and adults.
Sculptor Ann Cunningham, Thursday – Friday, December 3 – 18
Artist Ann Cunningham designed Forest Folklore, comprising touchable low-relief sculptures of fairy-tale characters, to create an inclusive multisensory experience to inspire all. During her two-week residency, Ann worked with over 700 Pre-K through first grade students who explored her tactile art and created their own raised-line artworks to represent how different emotions make us feel. Ann’s career as an artist and accessibility advocate led her to work with a wide variety of audiences whose access to visual arts can be challenging. However, through multisensory engagement, individuals with visual impairments, intellectual challenges, memory loss, or other specific needs have opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in dynamic ways.
Public programs during Cunningham’s residency included Art 101 presentations about her tactile artwork, a gallery walk through Forest Folklore, open studio demonstrations, and a workshop for classroom and museum educators exploring the opportunities to teach diverse ages and abilities through sensory experiences.
Artist Jan Stommes, Wednesday – Saturday, November 18 – 21
Artist Jan McAllaster Stommes first trained as a research scientist, honing her observational skills and attention to detail. As an artist and educator, Jan spent her residency drawing connections between science and art for students and visitors through conversations about the physiology of eggs and while exploring the artists’ trompe l’oeil paintings. Stommes’ public programs included a gallery walk, open studio demonstrations, and an acrylic painting workshop.
Tuesday – Friday, November 17 – 20, students in grades 4-12 visited the Woodson’s 40th annual Birds in Art exhibition and worked with Stommes in the Museum’s classroom, creating their own chalk pastel egg studies. Over 120 students participated in Jan Stommes’ residency and their resulting work is on view in the Museum’s lower level Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Sunday, January 3, 2016.
Artist Robert Caldwell, Thursday – Saturday, November 5 – 7
During Museum presentations and hands-on teaching with students of all ages, Birds in Art artist Robert Caldwell demonstrated how building up layers of graphite develops a range of values, which create realistic textures and forms. Caldwell’s residency included visits with area students who viewed the artist’s work in the 2015 Birds in Art exhibition and then joined Caldwell for a still-life drawing workshop in the Museum’s classroom. Public programs included a Thursday evening Art 101 program, a Saturday workshop for adults, and open studio demonstrations for drop-in visitors to the Museum.
Ecologist Alan Haney, Thursday – Saturday, October 22 – 24
during the Wisconsin Science Festival for environmental enthusiasts and budding birders of all ages. Program participants learned more about ever-changing Wisconsin ecosystems and wildlife beginning with a public lecture on Thursday, October 22, a Friday evening panel discussion with UWSP colleagues Museum of Natural History director Ray Reser, and professor and conservation biologist Eric Anderson, and a Saturday family program on local birds on view in the 2015 Birds in Art exhibition.
Author Max Garland, Thursday – Saturday, October 1 – 3
2014 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland returned to the Woodson Art Museum for a series of programs blending literature and the visual arts. Max’s residency included an Art 101 program on Thursday, October 1, a Friday poetry reading and reception, and a Saturday writing workshop for area creative writers.
In addition to his public programs, Garland worked with local high school writing students and educators as a special guest speaker in the classroom.
Birds in Art Artists Flock to the Woodson, September 12
Meet the Artists 9 am – 12:15 pm
More than seventy artists traveled from throughout the world for Birds in Art opening-day festivities. Visitors were invited to meet and mingle with artists in the galleries to learn more about their avain-themed artwork on view.
Using just seven images in seven minutes, seven Master Artists – Robert Bateman, Guy Coheleach, Kent Ullberg, Andrea Rich, Walter Matia, Larry Barth, and Terry Miller – shared memories and musings as commemorating the Birds in Art exhibition’s 40th anniversary.
Eleven Birds in Art artists worked under tents and at their easels demonstrating the variety of media and techniques featured in exhibition artwork. The artists’ public presentations included scratchboard, relief printing, watercolor and acrylic painting, and a live bronze pour.
Wisconsin Valley Woodturners: August 1 and 19
On August 1, area woodturners demonstrated woodworking techniques during a Saturday Open Studio program, which encouraged visitors to take a turn at the lathe. Wednesday, August 19, Wisconsin Valley Woodturner Roger Zimmermann offered an Art 101: “Wood Matters” gallery walk through the Bartram’s Boxes Remix exhibition and shared insights into working with wood.
Sculptor Bird Ross on Creative Collaboration: August 6 – 8
Wisconsin artist Bird Ross visited the Woodson and led several public programs related to and inspired by her Bartram’s Boxes Remix artwork Separately & Together. A Night Out at the Woodson Art 101 program on August 6 was followed by a Friday afternoon
Collaborative Art Workshop. Bird’s visit to the Museum concluded with a Saturday gallery walk through the Bartram’s Boxes exhibition where the guest artist shared stories about works on view and artists she admired.
Photographer Linda Rutenberg in Residence: July 14 – 19
Garden at Night photographer Linda Rutenberg led two summer art camps, a teen/adult workshop, and public gallery walk during her weeklong July residency. Summer art camp participants, ages 9-11 and 12-14, got to know their cameras and explored ways to develop creative photographic narratives. Area photographers joined Linda during a nighttime photography workshop Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19 experimenting with flashlights, long exposures, and the late-night landscape of the Museum’s gardens.
Botanical Illustration with Wendy Brockman: Wednesday – Friday, June 24 – 26
Botanical painter and Birds in Art artist Wendy Brockman offered a three-day workshop inspired by the summer exhibition Bartram’s Boxes Remix, which invited participants to express their connections to nature through art. Workshop attendees designed a box to house field sketches and drawings of plants, handmade seed envelopes, garden specimens and curiosities.
Art 101 Programs with Mountain Fret Works
Mountain Fret Works owner Paul Szmanda and manager Wes Krumplitsch offered three noon-hour Art 101 programs – the third Wednesday of each month during Medieval to Metal – for interactive and engaging discussions about guitars. Topics included “Guitar Anatomy & Appreciation” (March 18); “A Wood & Sound Survey” (April 15); and “Craftsmanship & Creativity: Custom & Iconic Guitars” (May 20).
Musical Thursday Performance Series Artists
Every Thursday in March and April, musicians performed and discussed guitars and the musical genres that celebrate them. See the Performance Series poster for details.
March 5 Building Guitars: Form & Function with John Currier
March 12 Blues Guitar with Bobby Messano
March 19 Irish & Regional Folk with Brian Miller and Randy Gosa
March 26 Folk Guitar with Robert “One-Man” Johnson
April 2 80s & 90s Rock with Rico Jaeger
April 9 Heavy Metal & Shredding with Jeff Sandbom
April 16 UWMC Jazz Combo
April 30 Community Contemporary: Open Mic Night
Guitarist & Historian Michael Kudirka (March 27 & 28, April 10 & 11, and May 7 – 9)
Michael Kudirka offered music enthusiasts insights into the guitar’s cultural significance and history during three visits to the Woodson filled with performances and presentations dedicated to major periods in music history. Kudirka’s residency visits explored the sounds and stories of the instrument’s journey from ancient lutes to avant-garde digital duets. Kudirka’s expertise was enjoyed digitally through the Museum’s Medieval to Metal audio tour app and through this video of Kudirka introducing and playing a theorbo, featured in the exhibition.
Luthier John Currier in Residence (March 5 – 8)
Guitar maker, author, and musician John Currier shared his skills as a craftsman and performer during his March residency, complementing the Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar exhibition. Currier’s programs included hands-on demonstrations, presentations, and Sound Lab concerts Saturday evening with his band Schmaltz Nouveau and Sunday afternoon, following a gallery walk.
2014 – 15 Guest Artist Programs
Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland (December 5 & 6)
Wisconsin’s 2013-14 Poet Laureate and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire English professor, Max Garland, visited Wausau in early December to work with UW-Marathon County creative writing students and lead Woodson Art Museum programs blending literature and the visual arts. An in-gallery reading and reception sponsored by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and daylong workshop for area writers highlighted “ekphrastic poetry” inspired by artwork on view.
George Bumann in Residence (October 23 – 26)
Birds in Art artist, sculptor, and science educator George Bumann uses his background in biology and field work in Yellowstone National Park to inform his bronze sculptures and science teaching to students and scholars of all ages.
During his Woodson residency, George sculpted and sketched from live birds and instructed participants the ways in which close observation of live subjects is an invaluable tool for any artist.
Guest Author Joel Greenberg (October 17 – 19)
Joel Greenberg’s latest book – A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction – unpacks the historic demise of the passenger pigeon through cultural and natural history contexts. Joel’s visit to the Woodson included lectures on endangered and extinct North American bird species and film screenings of From Billions to None.
Karen Bondarchuk in Residence (October 7 – 12)
Distinguished by her striking, large-scale portraits of ravens, crows, and owls, Birds in Art artist Karen Bondarchuk uses charcoal to create these expressive and thought-provoking drawings. In addition to public programs and workshops, students grades 5 – 12 experienced the 39th annual Birds in Art exhibition followed by time working with the artist exploring charcoal drawing techniques through avian portraits.
Support for the Bondarchuk and Bumann artist residencies is provided by the B. A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation. Funding for past Woodson Art Museum artist residencies has come from Community Arts Grants from the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, with funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Community Foundation, and the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation.