‘Birds in Art’ exhibition begins Jan. 2 at Plum Creek Nature Center

Paintings, sculptures and graphics created by an international cast of artists will be on display during a “Birds in Art” exhibition this winter at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. 

The 60 works of art are part of a traveling exhibition culled from the larger “Birds in Art” exhibition that was on display at the Wausau, Wis.-based Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in 2023. The admission-free museum, which was established in 1976, is internationally renowned for its “Birds in Art” exhibitions, which change each fall.

Plum Creek Nature Center is the traveling exhibition’s first stop on its 2024 tour. The exhibition will run from Tuesday, Jan. 2, through Sunday, Feb. 25. Nature center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

“This exhibition is absolutely a perfect fit for Plum Creek because it’s an established birding location,” said Jessica Prince, facility supervisor at Plum Creek.

It’s a big “get” for Plum Creek to host such a prestigious exhibit from a world-renowned museum, and it will be a great addition to the Plum Creek program lineup in 2024, she added.

“Exhibits attract new audiences, and they keep things exciting, new and fresh for our return audiences,” Prince said. “Visitors will get inspiration, and an appreciation for diverse art by viewing these beautiful bird-themed creations.”

The exhibition will feature a wide variety of art techniques, including paintings in watercolor, oil, and acrylic; sculptures in stone, wood, wire, aluminum and bronze; and drawings in graphite, pastel, chalk, and charcoal. Various mediums, from textile art, cut paper and scratchboard to serigraphy, woodcut, linocut, and etching, also will be on display.

The larger Woodson museum exhibit included 111 artworks from across the world, said Bryce Cebula, the museum’s marketing and communications manager.

“Thirty-three artists reside internationally, representing 12 different countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain and Sweden,” she said. “The exhibition also showcases work from 11 artists residing in Wisconsin.”

Chicago artist Doug Stapleton also will have artwork in the Plum Creek exhibition.

Highlighting birds in an exhibit can help to shed light on conservation efforts and bird locations, Cebula explained. And art can do more than that, added Shannon Peuschner, curator of exhibitions at the Woodson museum.

“Art can connect us to the natural world in a way that photographs cannot,” she said. “The expression of the artist can illustrate the less tangible emotional impact that birds have on us as humans.”

Several exhibit-related programs have been scheduled at Plum Creek Nature Center to complement the exhibition. Program details are listed on the Forest Preserve’s Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org.

The exhibition is brought to the Forest Preserve through funding provided by The Nature Foundation of Will County.