I have a secret vice. I love reading the notes that visitors jot down and post on our Comment Board before they depart the Woodson Art Museum. Their observations and remarks range from complimentary to curious to compelling. With Birds in Art having just ended on Sunday, this is a great time to review some visitor feedback.
Naturally, compliments are my favorite. B & J from Rockford, Illinois, wrote, “First visit—and we are just overwhelmed with the beauty. Thank you.” Annie from Minneapolis noted, “Some of the written commentary was simply poetic.” Shelley described master artist Jim Morgan’s work as “an eye feast.” Talk about poetic! Another visitor said, “The show is enjoyable each and every year we come…20 in a row so far.”
We received left-handed compliments like “Way better than I expected,” the tongue-in-cheek suggestion to “Get more birds,” and the right-to-the-point observation “Nice tire recycling” (referencing Karen Bondarchuk’s sculpture Corvus Deflatus).
A number of visitors revealed how they got hooked on Birds in Art originally, which I found especially appealing. Two of my favorites are Mark and Nancy who came here when they were first dating 25 years ago and have been back each year since, and an anonymous visitor who wrote “My high school environmental science teacher brought us here in 1977. I haven’t missed a year since, though I had to come from Milwaukee or Madison. Love this show.” And we love your teacher for introducing you to the exhibition!
Sometimes comments are curious and leave me wanting to know the rest of the story. “First visit, first kiss, both awe inspiring.” Sounds like the first line of the great American romance novel. Tell me more!
Visitors who responded to specific artworks or their overall Birds in Art experience revealed compelling insights that deepen my own response to the exhibition. One person commented that “I am enlightened by the artists’ use of light in so many of the pieces,” while another referenced how reading Ross Matteson’s statement made his sculpture Peace on the Border so much more meaningful. Frank from Oshkosh noted he’s been coming for 20+ years “of exceedingly great enjoyment and every visit continues to challenge the mind in a feeble effort to appreciate the creativity on exhibit.”
Now that my secret vice isn’t a secret anymore, I’ll share my two all-time favorite comments—both posted above my desk and called to mind on dark winter mornings when I want to roll over and go back to sleep: “Why did it take us so long to visit this wonderful place?” and “Thanks for all the art over all the years. You’ve enriched our community greatly.”
Up and at ’em, Marcia!