Six Decades Proud: The Museum Of Wisconsin Art Marks a Milestone of Celebrating Local Artists

One of two collections on permanent display is the Early Wisconsin collection, unveiled in 1998 upon Wisconsin’s sesquicentennial. Photo: Jamie Stukenberg Photography


The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MoWA) is celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2021. Located in West Bend, Wisconsin, MoWA started as a small, hometown gallery and has flourished into one of the leading regional art museums in the country, dedicated to showcasing the art of Wisconsin artists as well as offering a dynamic cultural community just outside of Milwaukee. Back in 1961, founder Melitta Hedwig Suder-Pic opened the institution with her two daughters in honor of her uncle, artist Carl von Marr. At the time not even the founders could have imagined the museum’s future growth.

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is commemorating this achievement throughout this year with exhibitions and activities focused on female success. Exhibitions and events celebrate their founder and countless other women visionaries of Wisconsin.

This July they celebrated with a community Birthday Bash, in conjunction with the opening of their new exhibitions Claiming Space: A New Century of Visionary Women and Carey Watters: Tiny Cuts. The opening celebration relaunched studio classes at the museum, along with an artist meet and greet – a fitting event that captured the sentiment of the moment, the survival of the museum during a challenging year, and offered a look towards the future: 60 years, and going strong. 

Claiming Space is on view through October 3, 2021. Just as Melitta Hedwig Suder-Pic funded visionary women of her time, this exhibition honors Wisconsin’s current cohort of innovative women, showcasing art from female artists across the state who work in an array of media. The artists can finally “claim space” in museums that were historically dominated by men.

Tiny Cuts is on view until September 12, 2021 and displays Carey Watters’ detailed paper reliefs that capture her feelings of distress and marginalization. The tiny pieces of paper were painstakingly cut from their original source and brought to new life as fragments hanging onto a new source. Watters created the works to demonstrate the difficulty in finding emotional and physical support in society, especially as a woman.


MoWA is located at 205 Veterans Ave. West Bend, WI

Visit wisconsinart.org for information 

Beth Lipman’s InEarth, Glass, wood, metal, paint, adhesive, 2017, is part of Mowa’s permanent collection, as well as 5,000 other works of art. Photo: Jamie Stukenberg Photography


Works on view at the opening of Carey watters: Tiny Cuts, on view through September 12


Visitors to Claiming Space: A New Century of Visionary Women, on view at mowa through October 3.
MoWA is located less than 40 miles from Milwaukee, and 125 miles from Chicago