2012 My Wustum Story - 1st Place

-by Tracy Seitz Wiklund

Wustum Museum is why the American Crawl remains, to me, a mystery.

When I was seven, my mom signed me up for swimming lessons. The prospect of swimming at the Quarry during teenage summers sounded great. Until I realized swimming lessons meant undressing in front of other kids. After the first lesson, I told Mom I wasn't going back. After the second lesson, I stood my ground and refused to go. My mom, frantic to ensure summer included something educational, offered a choice: swimming lessons or art lessons at Wustum Museum. Since art lessons didn't include public nudity, I chose Wustum. And fell in love with art.

Six years later, I turned again to Wustum to fill my summer. This time, I wanted a drawing class. The only class available, taught by John Goray, was limited to adults. At thirteen, I felt qualified but was told Mr. Goray would decide. Goray spoke briefly with me asking why I wanted to participate, and then said to my mom, "ok, the baby can attend...as long as she isn't shocked by adult language." That was no problem for a carpenter's daughter...however, my class name from Day 1 remained "baby." With honest, unvarnished commentary, Goray taught me how to think critically about my work. During class, he would draw with a pen, shade with his coffee, and then discard his work at the end of the night. As if to demonstrate that the process was more important than the product.

Forty years later, art remains an important part of my life. I may not be able to swim well, but a Goray sketch replete with coffee hangs in my home to remind this "baby" that art is life. It is indeed the process, not so much the final product, that counts.

John Goray
Road May to Mother's, 1971
Watercolor and ink
Racine Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
Purchase Award from Watercolor Wisconsin 1971