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Birds in Art 2021
Photo by Cooper Henckel

Birds in Art exhibition opens alongside rooftop sculpture garden

Story By Cooper Henckel
Local News Published 09/12/2021 8:58PM, Last Updated 09/13/2021 6:26PM
Wausau - The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum opened Birds in Art a little earlier than usual Saturday morning. The extended hours for the weekend of September 11 celebrate the 46th collection of world-class avian artwork. Under a different name now, the exhibition's spirit has stayed the same since the Woodson Art Museum opened.

"The theme is always the same, avian-themed artwork," said Marketing and Communication Manager Amy Beck. "But the artwork is always new."

Juried artists have their pieces displayed alongside accepted Master Artist pieces. Master Artists are previously juried contestants in the competition. Over 100 new and original pieces fill the galleries, painted by new artists and exhibition regulars alike.

One such regular is Mark Collins, who lives in Virginia. His seventh selected entry, "Splendour in the Grass" drew on the frustrating stillness of the COVID shutdown to stir inspiration.

"Because it was so extensive and so repetitive, in a way, it really freed my mind," said Collins. "Once I got used to what I was doing, I could think about other things and other people."

Collins dedicated each brushstroke to those affected by the pandemic. He spent five months working on the piece every day, sometimes all day. Collins attends the exhibition's opening each year, even when his own pieces aren't selected.

"The ability to be here regularly and see the breadth of the work and the excellence is inspirational," said Collin of the Woodson Art Museum and its always-free galleries.

The Birds in Art exhibition wasn't the only new thing on display this weekend. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden debuted as well. Tables, plants, and sculptures decorate the museum's rooftop while giving visitors a look out over the city of Wausau.

"We're thrilled to be able to open this up and see people enjoying the views of both the artwork and of the surrounding community," said Beck.

Beck says the museum was established as a gift to the community, part of ensuring Wausau and the surrounding communities have access to not only world-class art but a space to find inspiration.

"There are many ways to experience it, and with always-free admission we encourage people to visit often," said Beck.

The Birds in Art exhibition will be on display through Sunday, November 28. The museum is usually open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with doors open noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A full list of hours and gallery availability can be found on the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's website, which is linked below. 
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