Colorado-based artist Ann Cunningham, along with the Woodson Art Museum, is eagerly awaiting December 5, when they will offer audiences a multisensory art exhibition that will encourage visitors to “see” with touch.
Artist Ann Cunningham is thinking along the same lines as the Unseen Art Project also detailed in this week’s edition of Fine Art Today. Opening December 5 at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, “Forest Folklore: A Multisensory Experience” will offer viewers the opportunity to see, or feel — or both!
Beginning in 1992, Cunningham has often thought about how her low-relief sculptures could communicate with the blind. Working with her students at the Colorado Center for the Blind, she discovered that the sense of touch can be an extremely powerful tool for communication. In fact, one could argue that touch is the most intimate of senses — consider the way we delight in hugging friends and loved ones during the holidays more than simply seeing them. As Cunningham writes, “We can learn more about ourselves and how we fit into the world.” Although precious artworks are to be protected, it is tantalizing to think of the traditional barriers in fine art being challenged, of cultivating new relationships with art using a variety of our sensory perceptions.
Cunningham’s gorgeous “Consternation” — a slate, limestone, cork, and raffia relief — would indeed be a fascinating multisensory experience. The slate stone is a rich, royal blue and is carved into the frame and the piece’s main subject, a protective and possessive bird hovering over its eggs. The cork background contrasts sharply with the stone in both appearance and texture. One can easily imagine the feel of the smooth, cold slate against the softer cork. The nest of the bird is woven raffia while the eggs are carved from the limestone. The whole effect — both visually and texturally — is stunning.
“Forest Folklore: A Multisensory Experience” opens December 5 and will be on view through February 21. Cunningham will also partake in the Woodson Art Museum’s Artist in Residency program December 3-18, where she will work with 700 pre-K through first-grade students during visits to the museum. Other public programs will be available as well.
To learn more, visit the Woodson Art Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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