More Ways than One to Make Magic

By: Catie Anderson, curator of education on March 12th, 2014

Last week the Woodson Art Museum hosted Wisconsin magician Lou Lepore as an artist-in-residence.* Lou brought to life theatrical themes of illusion, humor, and deception, which characterize the Museum’s current exhibitionsMystery, Magic, and Mayhem: Wonders from the American Museum of Magic and From Houdini to Hugo: The Art of Brian Selznick.

Lepore offered engaging and fun performances for more than 300 area students, who enjoyed sleight-of-hand illusions, humor, audience participation, and stories about the great American magicians represented in historic posters featured in the galleries.

Lepore’s entertaining residency came to a close on Sunday, but opportunities for magical museum experiences remain plentiful. Magician Mike Von Schroeder of Oshkosh performs on Saturday, March 29 and Friday, April 4, and Lawrence University psychology professor and mentalist Bruce Hetzler offers a lecture and mentalism show on Saturday, April 5.

There is, of course, another way to create your own magic at the Woodson . . . wait for it . . . by volunteering as a Museum docent!

I will offer a new series of training classes Tuesday and Thursday mornings in May for those interested in joining the Woodson’s docent corps. Training involves discussions, presentations on the Museum’s history and collections, lessons in gallery engagement and visual analysis, art appreciation, and practice tours. If you’re interested in the arts, education, storytelling, and getting involved in the north central Wisconsin community, please consider the Woodson’s docent program.

Training to become a Woodson docent does require dedication, patience, moving past comfort zones (for some), and enthusiasm . . . but, the rewards are many! Consider these: connecting with a community of like-minded and engaged individuals, sharing passions for arts and culture with the next generation, and discovering new strengths within yourself by rising to the challenges presented by thoughtful volunteer service. In addition, lifelong learning through conversations and shared experiences with visitors, students, artists, staff, and fellow volunteers is a dynamic way to gain insights into new areas of study made possible by volunteering at the Woodson Art Museum.

Spring is the perfect time to reinvigorate and refresh a commitment to community and self. The snow is slowly melting and soon sun-drenched days will be here. Celebrate the seasonal change by making a positive change in your life. Connect with me at to learn more or to sign up for the May training class.

*Lou Lepore’s “Now You See It – Now You Don’t” residency funding comes from a Community Arts Grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, with funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Community Foundation, and the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation.

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