Be an Early Bird Sept. 7 :: Make the Woodson Art Museum Your First Stop of Wausau’s 2019 Artrageous Weekend

Written by Amy Beck

Don Rambadt, Counterpoise, 2019, welded bronze.

Even if you’re not naturally an early riser, plan to spend the morning of Saturday, September 7, at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum during Birds in Art 2019 opening festivities.

Opening-day early birds are rewarded with the opportunity to interact with more than 70 Birds in Art artists who flock to the museum from throughout the world for the exhibition’s debut.

Make the museum — which opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 7 — your first stop of Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend.

In addition to strolling the galleries to experience the 114 all-new artworks in Birds in Art — the museum’s flagship, internationally renowned exhibition — visit our sculpture garden for the 2019 Master Artist presentation and Artists in Action demonstrations.

Birds in Art: Opening Day Highlights — Saturday, Sept. 7

  • 9 a.m. – Noon     Seize morning opportunities to meet and mingle with artists – from first-year participants to Master Artists. Get catalogues and posters signed, too.
  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.     British artist Alan Woollett, the museum’s 2019 Master Artist, shares the highlights of his colored-pencil and graphite career.
  • 10:45 a.m – Noon     During Artists in Action, watch Birds in Art artists at work in various mediums in the sculpture garden.

[NOTE: The museum remains open until 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 8.]

Birds in Art 2019 artists depict the character, spirit, and habitats of birds via innovative artistic approaches, whether through colored pencil, oil, charcoal, bronze, or stone. From Parker McDonald’s bronze songbirds perched atop a flute to Laurence Saunois’s oil painting featuring white peacock pigeons’ plumage fanned like Flamenco dancers — the range is vast. Three lappet-faced vultures strike dignified poses in an oil painting by Cathy Weiss. Endearing expressions and postures of puffins are arrayed in Woollett’s stunning colored-pencil artwork.

Don Rambadt, Counterpoise, 2019, welded bronze
Alan Woollett, Puffins, 2018, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil on Fabriano Artistico hot press paper.

British artist Alan Woollett is the Woodson Art Museum’s 38th Master Artist and its first international Master Artist since 2009. Woollett’s artwork, whether deftly drawn in graphite or colored pencil, is characterized by eye-catching and elegant compositions featuring birds in striking poses. His exquisitely detailed and sophisticated avian-themed artworks — depicting birds’ delicacy and poise — convey the joys of observing, drawing, and appreciating nature.

Woollett shared:

“My work has evolved over the years, and I’m passionate about conveying the beauty of birds and the complexities and simplicity of these amazing creatures. Seeing my work in the Birds in Art exhibition alongside that of so many great artists never ceases to make me smile. It is really such an honor.”

Fourteen Alan Woollett artworks comprise his 2019 Master Artist exhibition.

2019 Wausau Artrageous Weekend 624x327

Birds in Art opening festivities kick off the 30th annual Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend, a vibrant and varied, 4-venue, weekend art extravaganza that appeals to regional residents and fall travelers from throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest. This perennial art festival, on the weekend after Labor Day each fall, offers admission-free fun for all ages. 

The 4 Artrageous attractions include:

  • Art in the Park (Marathon Park)
  • The Festival of Arts (Downtown Wausau)
  • The Center for the Visual Arts (Downtown Wausau)
  • Birds in Art opening weekend (Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum)

Free, handicapped-accessible shuttle buses run daily between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from designated locations, connecting and easing travel among the weekend’s 4 events.

Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend garners high praise and wins new friends among regional residents and tourists alike. See this example Facebook comment:

“This place is just sheer magic. My husband and I live in Kansas City but often visit friends and family in Wausau. I’d never been inside the Woodson Art Museum until the 2018 Birds in Art opening. And I was held in thrall for a couple of hours at magnificent pieces of art. Then I walked the beautiful grounds. I can’t wait to visit again!”

The Birds in Art opening festivities and Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend attract visitors to Marathon County both during this weekend and beyond — prompting tourists to return repeatedly and generating economic impact from tourists year-round.

Birds in Art remains on view throughout the fall each year, so many — including overnight visitors — return to Wausau and the museum later in the fall, often repeatedly, to see the exhibition in the galleries and to participate in an array of programs.

Upcoming Artist Residency Programs

Catherine McClung, Seekers, 2018, watercolor and silver leaf on Fabriano Artistico cold press paper.

Throughout the fall, artists undertake residencies highlighting varied mediums and techniques.

Catherine McClung leads programs, October 17–20, focused on watercolor painting and incorporating gold and silver leaf into artworks.

During “Produced in Produce and Worked with Wire,” November 5–10, sculptor Tom Hill guides hundreds of students as they create wire and mixed-media sculpture made from natural and man-made materials. Inspired by the playful and unlimited mix-and-match potential of Mr. Potato Head, Tom demonstrates how everyday items and produce can inspire art making.

For program details, check out our events calendar.

Avian-Themed Programs for All Ages

Varied programs enliven themes, artistic styles, and techniques from Birds in Art 2019 and the museum’s collection exhibitions. Also, all ages explore activities in Art Park, the museum’s interactive family gallery, where imaginations take flight.

Here’s a sampling:

  • During Art Park Open Studio on the first Saturday of each month, 1–3 p.m., all ages drop in for hands-on art making inspired by artwork on view in the galleries.
  • SPARK! programs for individuals with memory loss and an accompanying friend or family member on the second Thursday of each month, 10:30 a.m.–Noon, offer social interaction in the galleries, followed by a hands-on art activity; call the museum at 715-845-7010 to register.
  • Art Beyond Sight, on Saturday, November 16, 10:30 a.m.–Noon, is designed for individuals with low vision or blindness. Participants join museum educators for a multisensory visit to Birds in Art galleries followed by hands-on art making. Call the museum at 715-845-7010 to register.
  • During Toddler Tuesdays on the third Tuesday of each month, 10:30 a.m.–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 are offered later each month; call the museum at 715-845-7010 for specific dates and to register.

For details about these and other programs for all ages, check our online events calendar.

Plan to be an early bird and visit on Saturday morning, September 7, to participate in programs and marvel at the annual fall migration of Birds in Art artists and enthusiasts. Return often with others through Sunday, December 1, and savor what inspires you.

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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