You Just Never Know . . . .

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on April 9th, 2009

A chance conversation in the post office parking lot with Dr. Julie Luks, Aspirus Women’s Health Medical Director, led to the development of a multi-arts program just for women.

Program goals were multifold:
— Create opportunities for women to explore their creative sides.
— Share inspiring and empowering stories about women artists.
— Introduce the Woodson Art Museum as a destination for a variety of experiences.
— Consider art immersion as a non-traditional route to a healthy lifestyle.

Fifty women participated in “The Art of Being a Woman” on Saturday, April 4, the opening day of Wrapped in Tradition: Dale Chihuly’s Trade Blanket & Blanket Cylinder Collection.

Native American cuisine, including cranberry rice pudding, smoked salmon, and cornbread, and Joan Johannes’ flute music set the tone. Participants enjoyed a first look at the trade blankets and glass cylinders as the group assembled. A relaxation exercise got everyone ready to open their minds to new ways to learn and to experience art.

Thanks to the ease of sharing images via Power Point, I led the group in exploring the unusual and inspiring stories of nine diverse women artists beginning in seventeenth-century Rome and concluding in the Woodson Art Museum’s sculpture garden. The artists considered were Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, Rosa Bonheur, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner, and Deborah Butterfield.

Tours of the Museum’s decorative arts collection, Student Art Exhibition, Wrapped in Tradition, and Art Park followed. The small group tour experience allowed interaction with Museum staff and time for asking questions and providing answers.

The morning concluded with a hand-on project: creating a custom-designed, seed-covered medallion to take home as a reminder of an inspiring and rewarding morning.

You just never know where a chance conversation will lead.

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