Festival of Arts and Birds in Art: The First Sign of Autumn

Wow, did summer fly by!  However, fun and adventure filled this season!  I will be sad to see the warm days fade away, but I am looking forward to the crisp air and the new set of adventures that always come with autumn.  Apple orchards, pumpkin farms and a cruise down Cranberry Highway are just a few ventures on my list.  So as we slide into September, I kicked off the autumn season with Birds in Art and Festival of Arts.

Artrageous Weekend

Every year, I look forward to Artrageous, which is always held the weekend after Labor Day.  Artrageous consist of four art events throughout the city of Wausau.  Art in the Park, in its 43rd year, is held at Marathon Park and features over 120 exhibitors.  Additionally, artist demonstrate their craft on both days.  Center for Visual Arts is also a part of the Artrageous Weekend.  CVA is located right in the heart of downtown Wausau and features exhibitions in the professional gallery.

The two events I make a point of attending are Birds in Art and Festival of Arts.  Every event is accessible, but I find these two events to be the most accessible and wheelchair friendly.  A free shuttle is available taking visitors between all of the events.  Additionally, there is no charge to attend any of the four events.  However, there is artwork available for purchase.



Birds in Art

Blessed is the only word I can use to describe how I feel when I receive my invite to the Birds in Art preview at the Leigh Yawley Woodson Art Museum.  As my regular readers know, I am huge fan of this barrier free museum and the incredible staff who make this museum the gem of Wausau.  The preview is open to members and guests and allows them a sneak peak of the annual Birds in Art exhibit.  It is a guarantee that my schedule is cleared every year for this event.

This year I took my mom and Amy, my caregiver.  I was excited for Amy to attend, as this was her first year.  A string trio soothed our ears as we approach the museum.  I love this part of the night, as the backdrop is the beautiful sculpture garden.  It was a warm evening, so we made a point of strolling through the garden.  Kathy Foley, the museum director, greets each and every person as they enter the museum.  I can only imagine how sore her arm must be at the end of the night.  Greetings and conversation with my friend, Amy Beck, the marketing and communications director, always makes this night special.

We made our way to the wine and cheese, another favorite part of the evening!  Additionally, members and guests are able to mingle with the artists.  On this night I simply try to maneuver my way around without crushing toes and knocking over masterpieces.  However, I usually return during a not so busy time to fully examine the new pieces.

Art Park

The lower level contains the newly renovated kids area in the museum dubbed Art Park.  It was amazing!  The openness of the room not only makes it very accessible, but also makes the area a bright and cheerful spot for kids to explore their artistic talents.  Additionally, I was able to get my chair into the family restroom easily and without dinging any walls.  The bathroom is also bright and cheerful.  It definitely meets all the needs of a family restroom.  An additional room filled with letters and sketches of past master artists and their impressions of the museum and our great city of Wausau is also now a part of the museum experience.


Master Artist: Cindy House

In this 43rd year of Birds in Art, Cindy House is the 2018 Master Artist.  She is the museum’s 37th Master Artist.  Cindy House resides in New Hampshire and specializes in landscape pastels.  Cindy’s works has been a part of the Birds in Art exhibition for many years.  What I also found amazing is the fact she has not had any formal training.  Her work is so incredible, the room where it was featured was way to congested for my chair.  I really don’t need encouragement to return to the museum, but I am really looking forward to explore her pieces when I return.

Festival of Arts

Festival of Arts

Heading into the crowd


My mom and I headed downtown on the final day of the Festival of Arts.  I love this event.  Additionally, the accessibility is spot on.  The streets of Downtown Wausau are closed off, which allows plenty of room to navigate my chair despite the crowds.  There are many talented vendors selling and discussing their craft.   Street musicians can also be found along the way, as well as musicians on two main stages.  There were at least three food vending areas as well.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and although crowded, I was able to make my way through most areas.  We met some wonderful people along the way.  One lady who stood out had a therapy pug dog.  When she spotted me, she allowed me to pet him.  She shared a part of her story with us, of the trauma she has experienced and how the pug makes her life easier.  My mom shared a hug with her, which was touching to be a part of.  We also had a very nice couple join us at our table while we were listening to music.  Beyond the art and music, the Festival of Arts brings together community and human connection, which is so important in today’s times.

I struggled to find gluten free food options, so I settled for a snack of cheese popcorn and a delicious bottle of Golden Maple Root Beer.  The root beer was wonderful, but it attracted the many bees that were buzzing around downtown.  As I was listening to the incredible voice of Kraig Kenning, a bee decided to kiss me right on the lips!  With the speed of a ninja, my mom brushed him off my lip without socking me in the face!  However, we decided not to push our luck and headed out.

Festival Of Arts Musicians

Here are a few videos of the music of Festival of Arts…Enjoy!




My budget does not allow me to purchase any of the art displayed, but I am able to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of the Festival of Arts.  I am a true believer in experiences over possessions, so I am truly blessed to be able to attend this event every year.

Until next time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin’!

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