Director's Note 4/1/17

April 1, 2017

The turkeys like the rain. Or at least they are undaunted by it. A few minutes ago there were more than a dozen pecking at the earth outside my window, heads not so much bobbing as making staccato attacks on the sunflower shells beneath the birdfeeders. Their bodies—as if inured to all that head action--moved languidly, each bird stepping high and deliberately as it wove in and out, their formations briefly legible as circles or lines before they dissolved. The turkeys have moved off now, but some mornings one can see more than thirty of them, the toms large and sleek, fanning their tail feathers; the hens and jakes smaller, businesslike, less concerned with display.

It is easy enough to lose track of the season—or the year—when bouncing between the varying timescales of scheduling, grant writing, and preparing final reports. We have just completed the spring/summer schedule, covering the months from April through August. Most things are now up on our web calendar, and the brochure should be available in physical form in a week or so. Sometimes the urgency of confirming the date of a workshop in far-off August overtakes one’s sense of the present; grants describing projects that will come together in 2018 transport one to the realm of unencumbered possibility; reporting on work accomplished may reveal a sudden insight that makes a project more meaningful, or a connection with other work clearer. But each day there are reminders of the present: the sounds of the kindergartners working with Naomi in the sunroom during their field trips, the narrator’s voice drifting in from the gallery, where Cecelia Condit’s Tales of a Future Past is screening, the puddles turning into lakes on the lawn.

And so we embark on April, a month still far enough off to hold unbounded promise: more green, more growth, more sunshine. We have three more book-related workshops in April with Carolyn Suneja (Sewing on Tapes and Simple Case Binding, April 8), Colin Matthes (Zine-Making, April 22), and Eddee Daniel (Using Online Self-Publishing Platforms, April 29). Leslie Perrino offers an enameling workshop on April 23—once you try this, it’s hard not to want to keep doing it—and Chuck Stebelton is back to lead a bird walk, guest Cecelia Condit in tow, early that morning. We hope you’ll join us on April 24 for International Sculpture Day. Debby Pagel of Eat Cake! is rendering one of the works in our collection in cake (which one do you think lends itself to the cake treatment?), and after many hours of admiring this production, we plan to cut and eat it at 3 pm.

You can scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter to get a taste of May activities, or head over to our web calendar to check out the next several months. Lynden’s Garden Series reboots in May, and covers a range of topics from beekeeping to natural pest control. Our extended Wednesday hours begin May 31, and artist-in-residence Sara Caron will enliven the first several with her hiking trail and pop-up information center/gift shop. June brings some returns and many beginnings. We partner once again with Woodland Pattern Book Center on another intensive writing workshop: Intersite: Geopoetics of the Constructed Landscape and Beyond with Jennifer Scappettone (June 6-9). Summer day camps begin June 12—and not to be alarmist, but these are filling up fast so don’t miss your chance to register. Danceworks Performance Company and Milwaukee Opera Theatre return on June 16 and 17 for Handel’s Bestiary (based on the Donna Leon book exploring the animals in Handel's arias), and the Danceworks campers will be here in July for a related family performance. The long-awaited Bonsai Exhibit, a collaboration with the Milwaukee Bonsai Society and the Milwaukee Bonsai Foundation, opens with a reception on June 18. Skipping all the way to late summer, you may want to save the date—August 24—for our annual Backyard Barbecue.

And though I made it sound like the spring/summer schedule was sewn up, we are always adding events. Keep your eyes peeled for additional Women’s Speaker Series engagements, free family days, and for an entire world of events generated by artists-in-residence Portia Cobb and Gary John Gresl.

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