Wednesday, September 29, 2010
To kick off our efforts to increase teen involvement, the Museum hosted a teen reception on July 16. Two area teen bands played, the Museum provided pizza, and comic book artist Tim Seeley signed comic books and gaming mats that Johnny Cee Cards sold at the event. More than 180 teens attended the party.In mid-August, we invited eight teens for the first meeting of the Teen Art Council. They were asked to attend based on past participation at the Museum. Four teens joined for the first council meeting. Based on experiences gleaned from others working with teens, I was excited that we had 50% participation. The four that started the council were exactly what is needed in members: motivated young people committed to bringing art to their peers.
Now, T.A.C. members help us plan programs for teens at the Woodson Art Museum. The planning process exposes them to a working relationship with museum professionals, cultivates a respect for museums, and creates a sense of ownership here. The teens help us build a stronger visible teen network, and the Museum gives the teens the tools to develop artistic and professional skills.
So far, council members have met twice and we added one new member. In October we expect to work with a council that’s grown to seven members, so far. The teens decided to make the council a team of twelve, with each officer serving one year. T.A.C members will create an application so students can apply to be part of the group in the future.
T.A.C. members have developed their own logo and designed t-shirts they will wear at each teen event.
What’s next? TLC: T-shirts, Laughs, & Coffee – an after-hours party at the Woodson Art Museum. Teens will create graphic t-shirts and make coffee concoctions, 7-9pm, Friday, October 15.
If you’re interested in joining the T.A.C. contact me, Jayna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call715-845-7010. Starting in October, T.A.C. will meet the third Sunday of every month from 3:30-5:00 pm at the Woodson Art Museum.
Look for future happenings planned by teen for teens at the Woodson Art Museum. "Like" the Woodson Art Museum on Facebook to keep up to date on the latest news.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The tradition of Birds in Art artists playing croquet began innocently many years ago. Artists travel north to Hazelhurst each year after Saturday morning Museum appearances. This annual retreat allows artists to spend time with one another in a relaxed atmosphere. Activities include boat rides, swimming, nature walks, and a few sporting events, all available to help break the ice and encourage relaxation.
Pickup games of shuffleboard, volleyball, and croquet are common activities. It’s become the norm to hear cheering, laughter, and occasional playful taunting. Croquet competition kicked up a notch this year with the introduction of a traveling trophy dubbed the “Purple Mallet.” Rumor has it that the trophy was fabricated from plywood, paint, plastic, and includes a green furry hedgehog that draws its croquet reference from “Alice in Wonderland.” (The rumor comes from a reliable source: me. I made it.)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Hired in late June, I jumped into the midst of Birds in Art preparation – a whirlwind of year-round work that whips into a frenzy during the two months before the exhibition opens each year on the weekend after Labor Day.
My first introduction to the 118 artists in this 35th anniversary exhibition was through their writing, rather than their art. As marketing and communications manager, I worked on the final editing of the artists’ narratives that accompany images of their work in the 132-page Birds in Art catalogue.
As I shook hands with artists this weekend, what fun to begin linking faces with names, narratives, and artworks. I felt an instant connection with many of the 20 artists who were participating for the first time. New to the whole hospitable experience, they wandered wide-eyed – like I – through the galleries. We all marveled at the humility and good humor of the 62 artists who flocked to Wausau from all over the world for the opening weekend hoopla.
And I began to grasp why so many artists vie – year after year – to be selected.
The prestige of Birds in Art? To be sure.
The red-carpet treatment that makes each artist feel so appreciated and valued? Absolutely. Many artists commented that, after toiling away in isolation much of the year, the experience of being thoroughly honored for a weekend provided sorely-needed encouragement and rejuvenation.
The opportunity for artists to connect on a uniquely-level playing field was what impressed me most. And I suspect that may be a key ingredient in what Museum director Kathy Foley calls the “secret sauce” that has made Birds in Art such a success.
Rock star artists, including Bob Bateman, Larry Barth, and Carl Brenders, all drew admirers who clustered closely to hear them speak or watch them work. But they also ate breakfast and sat on the bus next to first-time artists and other newbies like me. One artist said those few minutes of poolside conversation and buffet-line advice were worth a semester of art school.
Among my many responsibilities was to connect TV and newspaper reporters with the artists that would help local media round out their stories. All of the artists I approached, before and during the weekend, graciously agreed to be interviewed. Whether they were first-time artists – like Zev Labinger, Manisha Padhye, and Grace Kim, from Israel, India, and Maryland, respectively – or Wes and Rachelle Siegrist, who have been here many times, all seemed ready to make genuine connections with other artists, museum members and visitors.
Whew, what a party! Although I feel a bit like a crasher, who swooped in at the tail-end of the prep and then soaked up all of the fun, I have no doubt my share of the work looms large as we foster and deepen those connections through social media and other digital means. And I look forward to bringing even more to the table next year.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
As you can imagine, this week is a standout among the other 51 at the Woodson Art Museum. We’re all buzzing with energy as we busily complete the tasks needed to ensure the upcoming weekend is another success (35 years in a row).
Even though I have piles (I mean piles!) of work to complete before Birds in Art 2010 goes “live,” I have to take a moment to share what I’m most excited about.
Yes, I’m excited to see the familiar and unfamiliar faces of artists, marvel at everyone’s reaction to the exhibition, and record the audio tour. However, I’m most excited for the activity that awaits visitors on Saturday morning.
Artists in Action! From 9 am – 12:30 pm, visitors have the opportunity to watch fifteen artists work on the Museum grounds “en plein air.”
How cool is that? Ummm . . . I think it’s really cool, and you should too!
Being a museum educator often means I interpret the way artists work in a specific medium. Yes, I can reference their websites, artist statements, and supplementary information, but nothing compares to seeing it with your own eyes.
Observing an artist at work combines visual art with performance art; something for everyone. Museum staff often chat about our audience’s obsession with process. Everyone wants to know, “How’d they do that?!” Now, you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself.
Visit the Woodson Art Museum on Saturday morning, September 11. Drop by the Information Booth to say “hi” to me and fellow educator Jayna Hintz, and then check out Artists in Action and take time to absorb Birds in Art 2010.
(If you read this blog regularly – you’ll understand my word choice) It’s going to be AWESOME!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I have worked at the Woodson for thirty-one years, so preparing for the opening of the exhibition is a labor of love. Don’t misunderstand. Sure, I will be extremely busy. But the plans, carefully honed over the past thirty-four years, along with a cooperative group of colleagues, make the demanding tasks fun.
The majority of my days are spent in the galleries installing the one hundred and eighteen paintings, sculptures, and graphics that comprise the exhibition. Andy and I will place and move some works a dozen times before finding just the right combination of artworks on each wall. To finish the effort, each is properly lit, identified with a label, and checked for dust and smudges on the glass.
Once the exhibition is complete, I direct my efforts to hospitality. We host more than eighty artists and spouses, hundreds of museum members and special guests for various events during the opening weekend. Coordinating the caterer, volunteers, and vendors is daunting. But without fail, food and drink will be plentiful and tasty.
Just as sure as Birds in Art opens the weekend following Labor Day each year, you can also set your watch that at 4:30 pm on Thursday, September 9, the exhibition will be ready, and the staff will eagerly greet artists and guests as they enter the Museum.