Birds in Art 2018 Soars From All Angles

Written by Amy Beck

Scissor-tailed flycatcher view 2
Gary Eigenberger, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 2017, oil and acrylic on tupelo and brass

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Birds in Art 2018 offers wonders to behold from any vantage point.

Stunning artworks transport viewers, often via fascinating perspectives evoking sights and sounds from throughout the world.

A watercolor painting of snow geese flying near cliffs and ice floes resembles the spectacular aerial views artist Sharon Rajnus witnessed from small airplanes above Canada and Alaska.

Julian Friers’s oil painting of Ireland’s windswept north coast appears to be from a cliff-side perch above a pair of bickering fulmars.

Kimberly Beck’s painting of a loon pair paddling atop Wisconsin’s vivid blue Lake Tomahawk water reflects the closer view of a boater peering down from a canoe.

Thomas Schultz, Pad Walker, 2018, acrylic

From acrylic and oxidized sterling silver leaf to cut turkey feathers and oil and cold wax on linen, Birds in Art 2018, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s internationally renowned exhibition, features innovative artistic approaches and intriguing mediums that capture the character, spirit, and habitats of birds. A luminous, elegant oil painting by Michael Dumas highlights a house sparrow pair atop layers of fabric, while a whimsical wire artwork by Thomas Hill depicts a wild-eyed, gangly heron running.

All-new artwork features varied interpretations of avian marvels — from vibrant to serene — via original paintings, sculptures, and graphics created within the last three years. These avian-themed artworks by more than 100 worldwide artists comprise the 43rd annual Birds in Art exhibition, on view through November 25, 2018, at the Woodson Art Museum.

The 2018 exhibition presents artworks by 114 artists in total, including:

  • 2018 Master Artist Cindy House
  • 21 who were named Master Artists during previous Birds in Art exhibitions
  • 92 artists whose work was selected by three jurors who reviewed 904 entries submitted by 575 artists

Birds in Art 2018 delights and engages audiences of wide-ranging interests and also celebrates the artistry and achievements of New England pastel artist Cindy House as the 2018 Master Artist. House, the Woodson Art Museum’s 37th Master Artist, received the Master Wildlife Artist Medal during the Birds in Art opening festivities.

In announcing the 2018 Master, director Kathy Kelsey Foley said:

“Cindy House has developed a style all her own that reflects her love of the natural world as well as her consummate artistry. Her elegant landscapes are captivating; her compositions draw the viewer in to explore nature’s beauty and its avian inhabitants. Cindy’s selection as the 2018 Master Artist adds depth and distinction to the roster of artists previously honored. We welcome her with great enthusiasm.”

Gorgeous weather and robust crowds of enthusiastic visitors and artists flocked to the Woodson Art Museum for opening festivities, featuring 70 artists who traveled to Wausau from around the world to experience the excitement. Visitors who made the Woodson Art Museum their first stop of Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend listened to a presentation by 2018 Master Artist Cindy House and watched 11 artists demonstrating their techniques in an array of mediums throughout the museum’s sculpture garden.

Among programs for all ages this fall, two Birds in Art artists lead residencies. Kris Parins shared watercolor techniques during her residency, October 2–7, including work with area school children, a public demonstration, and a teen and adult weekend workshop.

R-497 Green Heron, Red Mangrove
Kris Parins, Green Heron, Red Mangrove, 2018, watercolor

Josh Guge will highlight woodcarving during his residency, November 1–4, leading an Art 101 evening program and a weekend workshop for teens and adults; Guge returns to lead a second workshop November 16–18.

Josh Guge, Cape May Warblers, 2017, tupelo wood, brass, acrylic paint

California-based artist and science illustrator Jane Kim, who recently completed a mural at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology celebrating the evolution and diversity of birds, will design and paint a mural for the Woodson Art Museum focusing on how birds get their color. Her residency takes place November 9–18 and coincides with the publication of The Wall of Birds (Harper Collins), detailing Kim’s Cornell Lab of Ornithology project.

Support for “Mural, Mural on the Wall” is provided by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and additional support comes from the Community Arts Grant Program of the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, with funds provided by the Wisconsin Arts Board, a state agency; the Community Foundation; and the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation.

A sampling of museum programs this fall includes:

  • Art Park Open Studio — The first Saturday of each month, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., all ages drop in for hands-on art making inspired by artwork on view in the galleries.
  • SPARK! — The second Thursday of each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon, programs for individuals with memory loss and an accompanying friend or family member offer social interaction in the galleries, followed by a hands-on art activity; call 715-845-7010 to register.
  • Art Beyond Sight — Saturday, October 20, 10:30 a.m. to noon, for individuals with low vision or blindness. Participants join museum educators for a multisensory exploration of the galleries followed by hands-on art making. Call 715-845-7010 to register.
  • Toddler Tuesdays — The third Tuesday of each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon, little ones, 18 months–4 years, and accompanying adults drop in to sample art making and interactive play in Art Park.
  • Art Babies, Art Time for Tots, Art 4 You, and Art Kids programs — The last full week of each month; check the online events calendar and call 715-845-7010 to register.

For program details, check our events calendar.

Visit often this fall to experience all-new, avian-themed artwork and discover what views inspire you!

Don Rambadt, An Exercise in Curves, 2018, welded bronze and silver

Be sure to see — adjacent to a Birds in Art gallery in the lower level — a “re-landscaped” Art Park, the museum’s interactive family gallery. An infusion of natural light and a refreshed color palette accompany an array of Art Park hands-on activities complementing themes of each changing exhibition. Art Park is open during museum hours:

  • Tuesday–Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • The first Thursday of each month, 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursdays during Birds in Art, 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday–Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m.

Birds in Art ® is an international juried exhibition organized annually by the Woodson Art Museum and remains on view through November 25, 2018.

Explore museum programs for all ages. For details, check the museum’s events calendar at Contact the museum at, call 715-845-7010, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum serves the northcentral Wisconsin region through its commitment to always-free admission and a myriad of services offered for area schools, agencies, and all those who call Marathon County home.

AmyBeckAmy Beck

Marketing & Communications Manager  |  Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

A former journalist, Amy has considered it a privilege to champion the Woodson Art Museum since 2010. Drawn by the natural, outdoor beauty of Wisconsin, Amy and her family moved to Wausau in 2007. After living in southwest Florida, upstate New York, and Iowa, Amy; her husband, Michael; two sons; and a daughter fell in love with Wisconsin during a family vacation and continue their quest to explore this state’s biking and hiking trails.  Email Amy Beck.

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