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Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's 30th Annual Birds in Art Exhibition

September 10 - November 13, 2005


If a long-running Broadway play is said to have "legs," it follows logically that a long-running exhibition devoted to bird-themed art can be described as having "wings." (right: Nancy Howe (Master Wildlife Artist), Terra Rosa, 2005)

"Birds in Art," the flagship exhibition of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, has wings and a whole lot more. Having first taken flight in 1976, the exhibition celebrates its thirtieth birthday in 2005 from September 10 through November 13, 2005.

As in its previous twenty-nine outings, "Birds in Art" again offers fresh looks and stop-in-your-tracks peeks into bird life from around the world. An eclectic mix of 126 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures created by 115 global artists comprise the 2005 exhibition. With this number of artists comes varied artistic styles as well as a smattering of whimsy and sass in keeping with "Birds in Art" having reached official Gen-X status.

The international flavor that has marked the exhibition since the mid-1980s continues in 2005 thanks to artists who hail from Belgium, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden in addition to Canada and the United States. Wisconsin is represented by painter S.V. Medaris (Mount Horeb) and sculptors Clarence Cameron (Madison), Boleslaw Kochanowski (Junction City), Jim Ramsdell (Bayfield), and Todd Wohlt (Appleton).

Nancy Howe, a painter who resides in Dorset, Vermont, is the honored Master Wildlife Artist. As the Master, she is represented with twelve works, none previously exhibited at the Woodson Art Museum and two completed expressly for this year's exhibition. Howe previously has exhibited in "Birds in Art" twelve times and is the second female to be honored as a Master by the Woodson.

The public is invited to "Meet the Flockers" from 9 am-noon on Saturday, September 10, when more than 70 exhibiting artists who have flocked to Wausau will be on hand to mark the exhibition opening. At 10 am Nancy Howe presents "Lost and Found," a discussion of how her willingness to get lost in her work allows her to find true art from within. (left: Doug Quarles (Tucumcari, New Mexico), Transformed Congregation, 2005)

Birders of both the globetrotting and backyard varieties along with art addicts and museum junkies need look no further than the Woodson Art Museum's galleries to satisfy their pastimes and passions. "Birds in Art" 2005 offers plenty of proof that this annual avian extravaganza still has plenty of wind under its wings.

A 134-page full-color catalogue documenting every work in "Birds in Art" is available. It can be ordered by calling 715-845-7010 or on-line. A poster featuring a Nancy Howe still life is also available.



The Woodson Art Museum's nest runneth over with nearly two dozen adult and youth/family programs that add a few twists and "terns" to "Birds in Art," an avian art adventure that celebrates its 30th birthday this year.


Opening Day

More than 70 artists from around the world and the United States flock to Wausau on Saturday, September 10, from 9 am - noon for "Meet the Flockers," a time for artists and visitors to mark the official opening of "Birds in Art."
At 10 am, during a one-hour under-the-tent program, the 2005 Master Wildlife Artist, Vermont painter Nancy Howe, presents "Lost and Found," a look at how getting lost in her work allows her to find her way through the artistic process.
Adult Programs
Ten short art films that each incorporates birds in a metaphoric context, will be shown on Thursday, October 6, from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Film connoisseurs can savor both symbolism and humor in these multicultural explorations of the human condition called collectively "Of a Feather." (right: Dino Paravano (Tucson, Arizona), Taking Off, 2005)
During "An Egg Transformed" on Wednesday, October 12, from 12:05 - 1 pm, participants will turn a common chicken egg into a decorative birdhouse ornament with instruction from Audrey Wilde. The fee is $5 and requires registration at 845-7010.
Wine connoisseurs or those simply curious about wines can go "Birding by the Bottle" on Thursday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m. Cellar 70 beverage consultant Bruce Conard will discuss domestic "bird vintages" that incorporate birds either in the wine's name or the bottle's artwork. There is no fee but registration is needed at 845-7010.
More than 55 years after his death, Aldo Leopold remains an iconic figure, one whom actor and journalist Mike Irwin remembers in "Aldo Leopold: The Last Radio Show" on Sunday, October 16, at 1:30 pm. In this one-person theatrical piece that stays true to the content of Leopold's last radio show aired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Irwin synthesizes Leopold's land ethics. Refreshments and conversation with Irwin as Also Leopold follow.
Woodson Art Museum director Kathy Foley leads a noon-hour gallery walk on Wednesday, October 19, during which she'll compare and contrast artistic styles and help visitors develop their own eye for art.
On Saturday, October 29, from 9 am-1 pm, D. C. Everest graduate Jennifer Hassrick, a professional photographer in Madison, teaches adults (starting with teens 13 and older) how to use Polaroid transfers and emulsion lifts to create individualized artworks. The fee for "Playing with Polaroids" is $40; register at 845-7010.

Youth & Family Programs

During September's Toddler Tuesday on September 20, 10:30 am to noon, D. C. Everest music educator Todd Werner helps tots do a little birding with a beat in addition to their art projects that will have a bird twist, too. "Eye Spy" is the theme on October 18, when the focus shifts to birds as visual stimuli. Toddler Tuesday is always free thanks to support from Target. (left: Robert Seabeck (Laramie, Wyoming), Heron in Kyoto, 2005)
Parents who want a more intimate one-on-one experience with their toddlers can attend "Art Time for Tots" from 10:30-11:30 am on Tuesday, September 27. Register at 845-7010.
During "Tune in to Birds" on Thursday, September 22, 4:30-6:30 pm, Art Explorers ages 8-12 years old will work with music educator Todd Werner to write a group Birds in Art-inspired song, record it, and then take home a CD of their original composition. Register at 845-7010.
Art Buddies ages 5-7 years old will have fun with bird songs - some silly, some serious - during "Sing a Little Bird Song," Tuesday, September 27, 4:30-6 pm. Working with Todd Werner, they'll also record one song as a group and take home a CD as a memento. Register at 845-7010.
"The Unhuggables" is a family program that looks at the good side of animals that have bad reputations. On Saturday, October 22, Milwaukee environmental educator, humorist, and singer David Stokes presents two programs - at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm - featuring music, stories, riddles, live animals, and creepy-crawly things to demonstrate that just because an animal isn't cute and cuddly, it's perfect just the way it is.
An all-day program on Thursday, October 27, from 8 am-4:30 pm for children
5-12 years old focuses on raptors and birds of prey. Educators from the Raptor Education Group in Antigo start things out with owl, falcon, and hawk demonstrations and learning activities, and the afternoon is devoted to the artistic pursuits of drawing, painting, and sculpting raptors. The fee is $20; register at 845-7010.


This light-hearted outdoor family festival on Saturday, October 1, from 11 am- 3 pm promises flocks of fun for young and old alike. In the OctoBIRDfest entertainment tent, singer and storyteller Kevin McMullin performs at 11 am and 1 pm, and juggler and magician The Almost Amazing Jerry offers lots of clowning around at noon and 2 pm. Other activities include ten-cent games, prizes worthy of champions, a half-dozen art projects having an avian angle, balloon artists, face painting, and a food booth and popcorn stand. A new addition is a Pumpkin Patch, courtesy of the Wausau Noon Optimists.


Local Connections

Willow Spring Corn Maze

To celebrate thirty years of "Birds in Art," Dennis Griffin and Peggy Lonsdorf designed this year's Willow Springs Corn Maze based on two whooping cranes depicted on the cover of the 1976 exhibition catalogue. To enjoy a stroll through a little bit of "Birds in Art" history, maze visitors can head north of Wausau on Hwy. K to Hillcrest Drive, then west one-half mile to 5840 Hillcrest, located 3.6 miles north of Fleet Farm. The Corn Maze is open every weekend September 9 - October 23 on Friday, 6-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; and Sunday, 10 am-6 pm. Fee. Flashlights are available and comfortable walking shoes recommended.

Still Life Open Studio

Four still-life paintings by Master Artist Nancy Howe are the inspiration for an open studio at the Museum where artists of all skill levels can practice their talents. Lisa Macco and Randy Verhasselt of Evolutions in Design, downtown Wausau, will design a still-life arrangement having a distinctive avian flair that artists can then sketch or develop more fully. When finished, artists are invited to post their artworks in the Museum's lower level for the duration of "Birds in Art." Supplies will be provided by the Woodson or artists can bring their own materials.

Be a Night Owl on Thursday Evenings

For those who can't make it to "Birds in Art" during daytime or weekend hours or who want to start their weekend doings early, the Museum is open until 7:30 pm on Thursdays. These Night Owl hours are made possible by local corporate sponsors. [Ruder-Ware, Greenheck, USBancorp, Rosemurgy Auto Mall, Compass Properties, Virchow Krause & Company, Wausau Signature Agency, and Ziegler].Local connoisseurs of art films and wine will find Thursday evening hours especially to their liking on October 6 and 13.


At 6:30 pm on October 6 a series of ten short films and video artworks jointly titled "Of a Feather" will be shown. Each film uses birds as metaphors to explore the human condition, some using multilayered symbolism while others bring a humorous perspective to the subject.

A Whooping Good Time

The Woodson Art Museum is sponsoring a day-trip to the International Crane Foundation on Sunday, October 16. Curator Jane Weinke will lead the trek, which departs at 10:30 am by motorcoach from the Museum's parking lot and returns at 6 pm. The trip, which is appropriate for youngsters ages 10 and older accompanied by an adult. Fee. Register at 845-7010. A lunch stop at Subway is planned or participants can bring a sack lunch. Thanks to a local connection, the Museum's travelers will have access to the health and husbandry clinic and hatching room, off-limit sites not often included on ICF tours. Weinke's niece, Wausau native Sarah Nikolai, is a veterinary student at UW-Madison who counts Dr. Barry Hartup among her favorite professors. Hartup also serves as director of veterinary services at the Crane Foundation, and an inquiry by Nikolai made the behind-the-scenes component possible.


(above: Sid Frissell (Emigrant, Montana), Magpie Patterns, 2005)


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