When planning for family holiday gatherings, thoughts often turn to treats: special things to do and share with family, friends, or for time all to yourself after house guests leave. Visits to the Woodson Art Museum offer an array of pleasures, free from high-calorie regrets or shoppers' remorse.
What can you expect to see and do at the Woodson Art Museum during the holidays and school-break season?
? Mesmerizing glass artwork by Wisconsin native David Huchthausen; mysterious spheres, ritual figurines, vessels with shifting shadows, all designed to be walked around and examined from all angles to get a full, kaleidoscopic view. Check out the audio tour on an iPod touch; listen to the artist speak about his work that throughout 40 years has altered the history of contemporary glass.
? Jewelry and objects such as vessels and plates, fashioned from precious metals and stones, range from an airy, coiling necklace to a hefty, gothic-architecture-inspired brooch. See fresh experimentation with metal by more than two dozen internationally recognized and emerging artists in "Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals."
? Jewelry classes. Artisan and glass pendant jewelry classes for children, teens and adults in mid-December and a silver fabrication earrings workshop for teens and adults on Jan. 11.
? Enjoy outdoor beauty, yet escape the cold. Art of the natural world abounds in five exhibitions from the Museum's collection in the south galleries, the renovated decorative arts room and in the newest gallery featuring artwork by Wisconsin legend Owen J. Gromme.
? New sculpture, both inside and out. Dan Ostermiller's wrestling bears near the main entrance, Geoffrey Dashwood's climbable "Prince Marvin" frog, and Gwynn Murrill's sleek canine and feline sculptures in the sculpture garden and small-scale maquettes indoors. The newest, Paul Rhymer's "Feeder Frenzy," along the main walkway was created during his October artist residency. Hundreds of school children and visitors witnessed him pour molten bronze to create the titmouse, wren, sparrow and chipmunk now "interacting" among several basalt columns.
? Explore Art Park, the Museum's recently expanded interactive family gallery in the lower level, to make metallic paper chains for necklaces or holiday decoration. You'll also find activities, puzzles, books and art-making options that change with each exhibition.
? Programs for all ages bring exhibition themes to life through hands-on art making, from Art Babies and Toddler Tuesday to a Bejeweled Glass Pendant Teen Event.
? Art Beyond Sight offers multisensory experiences for individuals with low vision and blindness. SPARK! programs provide those with memory loss and their care partners a social and art-making outing in soothing surroundings. Anyone coping with the death of a loved one can create a memory box during Treasuring Memories, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 9.
? Night Out @ the Woodson on the first Thursday of each month offers sketching, hands-on art, Art History 101 and trivia when the Museum stays open until 7:30 p.m.
Delightful experiences await at the Woodson Art Museum, admission free. Explore, interact and make memories with visiting family and friends, children during school breaks and for your own refreshment and inspiration. Call 715-845-7010, click www.lywam.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and the Museum's weekly blog to learn more.