Boost the Local Economy This Holiday Season — Invite Out-of-Town Visitors to the Woodson Art Museum to See 3 Origami Exhibitions

Written by Amy Beck

Here’s a gift idea that offers a win-win-win for you, your guests, and the local economy…

Invite friends and family to Marathon County in the coming months,
bringing them to the Woodson Art Museum to experience 3 extraordinary origami exhibitions!

Why bring out-of-town visitors?

  • Fascinating origami artwork and visiting artists
  • The museum’s reputation — according to recent visitors’ reviews
  • Woodson Art Museum visitors’ $3 million infusion into the local economy during 2019

Each fact provides compelling reasons to extend invitations to visit the museum.

Check Woodson Art Museum reviews on TripAdvisor and social media, take these recommendations, and plan to bring friends and family this holiday season and in the New Year.

Woodson Art Museum - Outdoor Winter Scene
Woodson Art Museum seen from outdoors.

Experiencing origami artwork — always admission free at the Woodson Art Museum — is a gift. The 3 origami exhibitions on display now feature innovative artwork by contemporary artists who transform two-dimensional paper into striking and soaring three-dimensional sculpture.

Origami exhibition at LYWAM
Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami features artwork by 9 international master folders. Ruga Swan was created by Jiangmei Wu, who leads programs during her artist residency January 18-19, 2020.

1. Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami

Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami comprises bold sculpture, large-scale installations, and conceptual artwork by 9 international master folders representing a cross section of contemporary origami artists. Two “Above the Fold” artists — Jiangmei Wu and Robert J. Lang — will share insights into origami innovations through presentations, a gallery walk, and workshops during artist residencies at the Woodson Art Museum, January 18–19, and February 22–23, “Above the Fold,” the first traveling exhibition to bring origami installations from around the world to North America, was curated by Meher McArthur, and the tour was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

Fauna Fold
FaunaFold features artwork by artist Robert J. Lang who leads programs during his artist residency February 22-23, 2020.

2. FaunaFold

FaunaFold features origami creatures by artist and physicist Robert J. Lang — renowned for his complex, lifelike figures of insects, birds, and beasts and considered one of the world’s leading origami masters.

Alchemy Unfolding
Alchemy Unfolding captures the delicate nature of paper folding in metal.

3. Alchemy Unfolding

Alchemy Unfolding captures the delicate nature of paper folding in metal. Five sculptures by Santa Fe-based artist Kevin Box — three with collaborators Robert J. Lang and Michael G. LaFosse — capture the fragility of paper and symbolize the design potential inherent in every blank page.

Artist Robert J. Lang will lead Origami Gallery Walk, Saturday, February 22, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Do you need a nudge to prioritize Woodson Art Museum visits? Recent visitors chose to write effusive comments, urging others to visit. And after all:

 “What people say about you is 12.85 times more important in driving your reputation than things that you pay to say about yourself,” writes Colleen Dilenschneider, chief market engagement officer at IMPACTS Research & Development. “Which do you trust more?”

If you shared others’ comments about the Woodson Art Museum with friends and family, might that convince them to join you and build anticipation?

On TripAdvisor, recent visitors wrote rave reviews.

  • “WOW! — This museum is a must see! The collection starts with the sculptures outside . . . a stroll through the gardens is a must! Many opportunities for photos. When you get inside, the collection is large and has a wide variety of mediums and interest. In the bird area, some of the pieces are so well done you think you are looking through the window at the real thing. It is amazing to see such a large collection in a place like Wausau. Great Job, Wausau!!”
  • “Treasure trove of nature art – What a wonderful resource for the area. Any city would be happy to have this museum in its city limits.”
  • “Family friendly – Took my kids and my little siblings here. It’s super family friendly and also great for an adult outing.”
  • “Always free and always changing — This is a wonderful place to visit when in Wausau. The exhibitions are amazing and presented so well, too. Something for everyone.”
Family looking at exhibit
Members and guests previewed the 3 origami exhibitions during a reception on the eve of the opening December 7.

Facebook and Google reviews tell the tale, too.

  • “My granddaughter and I love going to the museum. They change every few months to something new.”
  • “The volunteers and employees were very friendly and helpful.”
  • “If you’ve never gone, GO; what are you waiting for? Art is for the masses. It feeds a part of the heart, mind, and soul that cannot be fed in any other way.”

Here are a few recent highlights from the museum’s digital guestbook.

  • “A very peaceful, serene place.”
  • “Beautiful and accessible.”
  • “Deep and educational; thank you.”
  • “Inspires me to try other techniques in my art.”
  • “The Museum has a beautiful charm. The mix of old bricks and modern design is genius!”
  • “My favorite museum in Wisconsin!”
  • “Peaceful environment in which to contemplate the carefully curated work of visionary artists.”
  • “Wisconsin is definitely not flyover country when it comes to great art.”
Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami comprises bold sculpture, large-scale installations, and conceptual artwork by 9 contemporary origami artists.

Volunteer greeters also convey visitors’ comments.

  • “This is amazing; I might be here all day. I’m coming back with people.”
  • “A lovely way to spend an afternoon.”
  • “ ‘Splendid’ and ‘best ever’ were comments by several visitors who have been coming for years. They love the presentation.”
  • “Devoted visitors said ‘superb, as always’ and their first-time guest from Arizona said, ‘this place is stunning.’ ”

Are you convinced?

Although admission is always free, inviting out-of-town friends and family to join you for a visit to the museum helps the local economy.

During 2019, 17% of Woodson Art Museum visitors chose to interact with the museum’s digital guestbook, which generated crucial data:

  • 17% identified as living within 30 miles.
  • 49% were day-trip visitors.
  • 34% identified as overnight visitors.

The estimated economic impact was $1,138,496 from those day-trip visitors and $1,799,712 from those overnight visitors, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s economic-impact values. The state tourism department estimates that a day-trip visitor spends an average of $64 in the local economy and an overnight visitor spends $144.

Give Marathon County the gift of an economic infusion this holiday season by inviting friends and family to town to visit the Woodson Art Museum with you.

Then watch the wonder of experiencing the museum and origami artwork unfold…

Two Visitors Looking-Nishimura-Shine-
Visitors to the museum appreciate the intricacies of the 3 origami exhibitions on display now.

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.

Please note: The museum is closed Mondays & holidays, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

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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