Four Days… When Should I Attend?

How about Thursday?

If you want a more intimate time with the artists and writer, Thursday evening would be a great time to attend.

Gierach pic

Current Status: Now available

Dvorak pic

Bob White, John Gierach, and Michael Dvorak will be speaking about collaboration beginning at 5:30 pm.  They will explore how their differing art forms work together for a good result.

Following the discussion, Bob will demonstrate some of the techniques he uses to produce his classic outdoor sporting art.

Thursday is a great night to attend because the crowd will be smaller and you can interact with the writer and artists.

29 Years and More

Close-to-Home

For 29 years John Gierach and Bob White collaborated.

John wrote the stories that graced the closing pages of Fly Rod and Reel magazine.  Bob White’s amazing art gave vision to the words.  When Fly Rod and Reel ceased publication this past year we thought the partnership may end.  We are glad to share that their collaboration continues in Trout the quarterly magazine of Trout Unlimited beginning with its October issue.

Join us on Thursday At The Convergence and hear from them about this fruitful, 29 year partnership.

For more information and to see samples his illustrations, check out Bob White’s sharing on his website:

Bob White Studio

Our host venue is one of the nation’s best

Woodson Art Museum Wins Nation’s Highest Museum Honor

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced that the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, is a National Medal winner, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community.

As a 2017 National Medal winner, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is one of only two art museums among the five museums and five libraries named National Medal winners by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency supporting the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums, all of which are eligible for the award.

Genesis: The New Paradigm

Fighting Ugly with Beauty

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, “The New Paradigm” began more than a quarter of a century ago when I lived in Michigan.  My office was located in Chelsea, and, for a change of scenery, I would often go to Dexter to eat my lunch beside Mill Creek flowing by at the edge of town.  I enjoyed watching kids catching chubs and shiners in the creek, recalling the joy I had catching trout as a small boy back in Minnesota.  I never dreamed the impact Mill Creek would subsequently have upon my life.

One day, years later, my business partner called me to mention that he had seen a gentleman, decked out in waders waging a fly-rod, in Mill Creek.  He’d asked the guy what he was fishing for, and he said: “Trout.”  Ironically, soon thereafter, an article appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Trout Unlimited’s magazine Trout entitled: “Mill Creek Wonders.”  With the compelling subtitle: “How Scientists, and the Boys of Summer Invented a Michigan Trout Stream,” authored by John Bebow.

That, of course, made my return to Dexter a mandatory destination.  What I beheld absolutely astonished me.  Not only had Mill Creek become an angling destination, the towns-people had built a boardwalk along the creek. Families, with children in strollers, were enjoying the music that rivers always provide…free of charge.

That got me thinking.  We should be able to find a stream here in Wisconsin that is not now trout water, and make it into a trout stream.  Members of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to convert degraded streams into first-class trout streams.  (Reference the stunning accomplishments of TUDARE in the Southwest corner of Wisconsin.) Then, what if we also added visual art to the destination to expose children to the beauty of art and the natural world in a single visit?

Thus was born “The New Paradigm”.  The sad truth is that both the arts and conservation are currently under attack by politicians, who may deprive generations of the quiet joys found in the beauty of the best art we humans can create, and the infinite beauty and wisdom forever enshrined in the natural world.

Perhaps this new Paradigm has an applicability far beyond here and now.

Daniel O. Holland

We are doing this!

Dan and I immediately weighed the possibilities and decided that we are doing this.

Even though we had hoped to have the time to carefully plan with the possibility of holding an event in a year, we knew that this opportunity could be gone if we don’t step off the ledge right now.

The amazing part of this whole venture is how things have fallen into place.

A call to artist Bob White not only assured us of his eager participation, he suggested his friend, John Gierach as the featured author.  John graciously agreed to be part of this gathering.  Catie from the museum suggested that we meet with two respected conservation scientists that have worked with the museum in the past.  A lunch in a small country restaurant introduced Alan Haney and Eric Anderson to the possibility of artists, writers, and conservationists working together to support the outdoor world.  They became part of the ride.  Bob suggested including a fine photographer that accompanied he and John on their many travels.  Michael Dvorak became part of the event.  The owner of the local bookstore that is handling the book signing for John suggested another regional writer.  Mystery writer, Victoria Houston, will share with John the business of writing and publishing with an outdoor sporting twist.

Not too long ago I spoke with someone at the museum saying that Dan and I were a bit surprised that this idea is becoming a reality.  He said, “Good ideas have legs.”  I guess the legs of this idea are taking us to places we never imagined.

Join us this October to see an idea walk into becoming a celebration of the outdoors we love.

 

Let’s Do This

Not wanting the idea to drift away as so many do, Dan and I met again the next week.

Where do we start?  What are we going to do?  Is this even possible?  In fact we couldn’t even adequately describe the “this”.  All we knew was we wanted to put artists and writers together to somehow benefit the outdoors.  That’s it.

No amount of hops induced inspiration was working this time. I suggested that it might be good to speak with someone who may know what they are doing.  We needed to see if this idea had any merit or was simply the idle ramblings of a couple of old curmudgeons.  Considering places which do similar things, I suggested that we talk to the folks at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.  They hold a world class exhibition each year titled “Birds in Art.” This exhibit had featured Owen Gromme, Roger Tory Peterson, Robert Batemann, Maynard Reese, and other famous artists as their Master Wildlife Artists.

I arranged a meeting with Catie, curator of education.  Undaunted in our witlessness, we rambled on for quite a while asking for her input and guidance.  She pointed out that we are including writers and authors but have we thought about conservation scientists? Well, that made sense.  With her help we started to put some flesh on an idea.

When we finally stopped blabbering, Catie looked up from the notes she was taking and said, “Let’s do this.”  “We have two possible times either in October or November during Birds in Art”, she added.  She kept on talking about first weekend, special programming, artist in residence, and I am sure a lot of other things which I have no idea what she said.  All I heard was “Let’s do this.” “October or November.”

I am sure that the expression on my face was mirrored by Dan’s.  He looked as if he was teetering on the edge of a dizzyingly high cliff with someone tapping him on the shoulder and saying, “Next!”

I said to Catie, “I think Dan and I need to talk.” “Can we get back to you in a day or two?

  • John

Chinese Food, Beer, and an Idea

This past January, Dan and I went out for lunch at one of his favorite Chinese restaurants. As we caught up with the normal family niceties, had a beer, and made our second trip to the buffet, our conversation turned dark. While the food was good and the beer cold, we talked of elections, political wrangling, and the overall dismal fate of the arts and conservation. Recent cuts in the support of the arts, the proposed selling of public lands, the loosening and talks of abolishing the Clean Water Act, and a myriad of other equally depressing events drove us to the only readily apparent solution to the darkness.

We had another beer.

Now Dan is an author and poet and I have a love of outdoor writing and art that began when I was a young kid pouring over my grandfather’s Sports Afield and Outdoor Life magazines. Both Dan and I are ardent conservationists who live for the outdoors while volunteering in organizations that protect our environmental and sporting heritage. So out of a sense of real despair, I asked the obvious question, “What can we do to change this if everything seems to be against the things we love and for what we have fought?” Well…

We had another beer.

“We fight ugly with beauty,” was Dan’s surprising response.

With those words an idea was born. What would happen if instead of fighting the forces that are dark with equally dark methods, we celebrate the beauty of the natural world? What would it be like, to put artists and writers together who actually spend a portion of their life in the outdoors? What could they tell us and how could they help us celebrate the gift of clean water, air, and wild places? That was a surprising idea. But to move from an idea to reality would take much more than another beer.

  • John Meachen