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Woodson Art Museum Artist-in-Residence Published: 05.07.2014 at 6:10 pm by Nancy Judd

My Artist Residency at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI

ReDress Upcycled Style exhibition in the Woodson Art Museum

ReDress Upcycled Style at the Woodson

Last week I had the honor of being the artist in residence at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. (It took me about a month to memorize saying that without tripping over my tongue.) The residency was in conjunction with my exhibition ReDress: Upcycled Style that is traveling to museums around the United States.

During my residency I presented a public lecture and a gallery talk, met with several school groups, gave three workshops (paper bead making, T-Shirt transformations, decoupage magazine jars) and emceed a recycled fashion show. It was a busy four days!

I was excited to see how the Woodson staff installed my exhibition and augmented the educational aspect of the show. Every day I discovered new elements they created to engage diverse audiences in learning about the environmental message behind my work. Specifically thank you to Catie Anderson, Andy McGiven and Jayna Hintz for all their tremendous work. Following are some examples of just a few of the educational elements they added to the show.

Woodson ReImagination Center

In this “hands-on” area people can contribute to weavings using re-claimed materials such as mesh & plastic bags, and paper & fabric.

Woodson Eco-quiz Station

Each of these panels has an eco-quiz question that relates to one of my sculptures.

Woodson Educational Element

Young museum attendees can sort trash in this little recycling center!

Additionally, upon entering the exhibition, museum attendees are offered an iPod that contains short video clips of me talking about my work, and in the first gallery they can take an eco-pledge that is then posted on the wall to inspire others. The museum even has programing designed for people with memory loss that utilizes music. For example when viewing The Recycled Bathing Beauty (a swim suit covered in plastic detergent bottles) Summertime Blues, a song from the 1950s, is played.

Lectures in Madison

Lectures in Madison

My residency actually started in February at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I spent 3 days on campus with students from 5 classes that are part of the Textile and Apparel Design Program. I gave several lectures sharing photos of my work; advice on being an entrepreneurial artist; and techniques, tools and safety tips for working with waste materials. I also spent two days in the classrooms with the students listening to their design ideas for their up-cycled fashions and giving suggestions where I could. For details read my blog post about the trip.

Forty of their finished fashions and accessories were showcased in a recycled fashion show during my residency that I had the honor of emceeing. So many people attended that we had to repeat the show a second time so everyone could see it. The community really came out to support the event. See a short news clip of the fashion show, and more photos.

Dress made from old surgical caps!

Dress made from old surgical caps!

Wausau is in northern Wisconsin, and it felt a little like traveling back a month in time being there. They had had cold weather and rain, and not seen the sun in over 30 days until the last day of my residency. I was amazed at how many people came to hear my gallery talk that lovely spring day– the sun is tough competition in a community that has been deprived of blue skies and warm weather over an unseasonably long winter!

After one of my talks, the Museum received the following e-mail from one of the attendees, I was so touched by her words:

“When I planned on attending RePurposed & ReImagined, I did not expect that it would impact me on the emotional levels I am trying to express. I feel as though I just had the opportunity to meet a person that is living my dream. I am struggling to find a place in the world for my creative outlet as well as a purpose in my professional life. It was an honor to show my most proud accomplishment to an artist that I feel truly understands the emotional energy behind it.
Although I have yet to figure out where I belong in the art world, seeing this exhibit has given me hope that there might be a place for me and hopefully Arts Management will help guide me.
Sincerely, Amber Larsen”

I want to thank all the staff at the Woodson for doing such an amazing job of exhibiting and interpreting my work, and for taking such great care of me during my residency, I had a ball! Also, thank you to the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the B.A. and Esther Greenheck Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts for funding my residency at the Woodson.

Glass jar decoupage workshop.

Glass jar decoupage workshop.


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6 responses to “Woodson Art Museum Artist-in-Residence”

  1. So so cool! Now I know how you made the little glass jar that I keep on my sink windowsill filled with a little parsley bouquet! I can varify after 3 or so years that is is truly waterproof.
    Congratulations on your great success in Wisconsin at the Woodson Museum.

  2. Cathy Tyson-Foster says:

    Nancy, you are such an inspiration. You have always been one of my heroes.
    So excited for you to move this direction.

  3. Kudos to you, Nancy! I have heard fabulous reports about your residency at the Woodson Art Museum and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the media coverage as well as the images of the Runway Fashion Show . . . WOW! I only regret that we did not meet due to my commitment to our members trip to Detroit. I was watching the residency activities from afar and sending good thoughts back home. With thanks for your great work here! Kathy

  4. Carol Dayton says:

    Repurposing objects to extend their life is an old concept, and you have taken it to new & unexpected heights, thereby finding a unique place for yourself in the artworld, and inspiring the young to find their own unique niche.

    Bravo !!

  5. Erin Stammer says:

    Nancy, I just love that quote from the artist who attended one of your talks at the Woodson. You inspire people on many levels but I think it is your spirit that this woman felt embraced and understood by and I can relate to that very well…from the time we first started running around the fir grove together as six year olds. I feel a lot of gratitude for who you are in a world of too much waste and not enough appreciation for what is already here and re-usable.

  6. Nancy Judd says:

    Thank you all for all your support, I am both overwhelmed and buoyed by your appreciation– Much love to you all!

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