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  • Writer's pictureTravis J. Vanden Heuvel

National Geographic Photography Exhibition Opens


Wausau, Wisconsin: Exceptionally striking National Geographic images shot by some of the world’s finest photographers and artwork by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and children’s book author Eric Rohmann comprise two new exhibitions opening at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum on Saturday, March 3.

From a glacier in Patagonia to the deepest caves of Papua New Guinea, Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary features astonishing moments, natural wonders, and beguiling objects captured in National Geographic photographs. Rarely Seen is organized and traveled by the National Geographic Society and remains on view at the Woodson Art Museum through May 27.

 Joel Sartore, Hey, That Tickles, Nebraska, from the National Geographic exhibition Rarely Seen

On opening day, Caldecott award-winning artist Eric Rohmann leads a gallery walk through his retrospective exhibition, My Friend Eric Rohmann, on Saturday, March 3, 1-2 p.m., sharing insights into his work, characters, and the art of visual storytelling. The exhibition features artwork in various mediums – oil, watercolor, and relief printing – from books including Time Flies, which received a Caldecott Honor in 1995;My Friend Rabbit, which won the Caldecott Medal in 2003 for its bold relief-print illustrations; A Kitten Tale, published in 2008; and Oh, No!, a more recent book.

 Rohmann’s opening-day gallery walk will be followed by a book signing. Bring your classic Rohmann books; a selection of more recent books will be available for purchase at the Museum. Rohmann returns to Wausau for a for a Woodson Art Museum residency, April 3-8, working with area schoolchildren and leading workshops and a public presentation. My Friend Eric Rohmann is organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas, and remains on view at the Woodson Art Museum through May 27.

Focusing on Photography


Experience visual wonders – from the ethereal green of Canadian Northern Lights to the warm glow of Thailand’s Festival of Lights – via Rarely Seen, National Geographic photographs of seldom-seen places, events, natural phenomena, and man-made heirlooms. Explore photography themes throughout Museum programs for all ages and via hands-on activities in Art Park, the Museum’s interactive family gallery in the lower level; check the Museum’s events calendar for program details.

Marko Korosec, Supercell Storm Cloud, near Julesburg, Colorado, from the National Geographic exhibition Rarely Seen

Included among the astounding photographs taken from the far reaches of the globe is a striking image from Wisconsin. Ian Plant – whose Ice Cave Wisconsin is one of the fifty Rarely Seen photographs – will lead a gallery walk, class, and presentation during his Museum residency, May 12-13.

 Plant started taking photographs while in law school, bought his first camera, and – after practicing law for eight years – transitioned to full-time photography. Primarily interested in landscape and wildlife photography, Plant strives for the unexpected by incorporating long exposures, unusual lighting conditions, and non-traditional perspectives. Managing editor of the online resource “Outdoor Photography Guide” and author of books and instructional videos, Plant’s work is both inspirational and educational. During his Museum residency, supported by a grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, Plant will share techniques and stories of his adventures.

Dreamscaper: Ian Plant Residency, Saturday & Sunday, May 12 & 13

Whether hanging over an active volcano’s rim, braving the elements to photograph endangered species, or trekking deep into wilderness places most will never see, professional photographer Ian Plant continues his quest to capture the beauty of our world via his camera. Plant leads Woodson Art Museum public programs and a class designed to help participants see and frame subjects in a new light.

•    Photographer Gallery Walk, Saturday, May 12, 1-2 p.m. – Join Ian Plant for a gallery walk, gaining his insights and impressions of Rarely Seen photographs, including his own, Ice Cave Wisconsin.

•    Lessons from the Field: Photography Class, Saturday, May 12, 3-6 p.m. – Ian Plant shares expert photography techniques by showing participants how to see the world the way your camera sees it. From technical advice about aperture and exposure settings to the artful use of perspective, composition, and light, Ian’s photography lessons at the Museum will alter how you see the world and transform your photography. Designed for intermediate photographers; call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register and for more information. Fee: $15, members; $25, non-members. Scholarships available thanks to the Wisconsin Valley Art Association; call the Museum to inquire.

•    Stories behind the Shots, Sunday, May 13, 1-2 p.m. – Photographer Ian Plant shares favorite photos taken around the world. Listen to stories about his experiences and expeditions, from up-close encounters with endangered species to some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth.

Rohmann’s Playful Visual Adventures

Whether seen through the eyes of young schoolchildren or adults during gallery strolls, Eric Rohmann’s fantastical illustrations delight the child in all of us. Among the more than seventy My Friend Eric Rohmannartworks are oil paintings for first book, Time Flies – which received a Caldecott Honor in 1995 – and bold relief prints for My Friend Rabbit, which won the Caldecott Medal in 2003.

 “I make books for kids,” Rohmann says, “because they are the best audience: children are curious, enthusiastic, impulsive, generous, and pleased by simple joys.”

 Rohmann will work with area schoolchildren and offer public programs, April 3-8, during his Museum residency, supported by a grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation. Highlights include:

•    Art 101: Illustrating Childhood Enchantment, Thursday, April 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Rohmann discusses the experiences, artworks, and mediums that inspire his stories and illustrations. He will sign books before and after the program. Bring your classic Rohmann books; a selection of more recent books will be available for purchase at the Museum.

•    Relief-Printing Workshop, Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Participating teens and adults create original illustration prints. Call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register; $35 for members; $50 for non-members.

•    Visual Storytelling Workshop: Creating Picture Books, Sunday, April 8, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – A crash course in visual storytelling through close examination of children’s illustrated literature, storyboarding, and character creation. Call he Museum at 715-845-7010 to register for this free workshop for teens and adults. For More Information  

For details about an array of Museum programs for all ages, check the online events calendar.

UMR is the presenting sponsor of Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary. Educational support forMy Friend Eric Rohmann comes from the Bell Family Charitable Foundation and WoodTrust Bank. Additional educational support comes from Bob and Peg Wolff. Exhibitions and programs are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Marketing supported in part by City of Wausau Room Tax funds. Media support comes from Wisconsin Public Radio. Support for hands-on art-making supplies comes from the Walmart Foundation.

Also on view from the Museum’s collection

Fowl Play: Decorative Duck Decoys – on view through August 19, 2018

Duck decoys long have been used to lure waterfowl. Typically made of wood, these life-sized sculptures range from simple bird shapes to intricately carved and finely painted examples. Some are strictly utilitarian; others are sculptural works of art.

Woodson Art Museum

Hours:                   Tuesday – Friday                                                 9am – 4pm

                                First Thursdays each month                              9am – 7:30pm

                                Thursdays during Birds in Art                           9am – 7:30pm

Saturday – Sunday                                              Noon – 5pm

Closed Monday & holidays, including New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas

Admission:           Always Free Admission

Phone:                   715.845.7010


Location:              Franklin and 12th Streets, Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007

                                (700 North Twelfth Street)


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