Later in the evening as the program of events played out my friend and chair of the museum board, Claire, got up from her seat and took the stage. She looked like a Greek goddess in her flowing golden gown, I mention this because I want you to have a clear mental picture. She began to speak, about me. Claire gave me the most beautiful and touching speech. Honestly I am at a loss for words to describe how I felt. It was difficult to sit there and take in kind words. I just wanted to say all of the kind things back to her and to our museum and our community. I sat in my chair, eyes brimming with tears (because I feel my feelings), trying to not totally lose my composure. At the end of her beautiful speech she gave me the Tom West award for my service to the museum and arts in our community!
Tom West was a gifted artist who was quite a force in Casper during his time. Every year the Tom West Award is given to a local artist who is active in helping the Nicolaysen Art Museum. This year Eric excused himself from the selection committee when my name was mentioned, though I had no idea until a month or two ago. I have celebrated in years past as some of our state's great artists and dear friends of ours have won this award. Honestly I feel so deeply moved to be in the same group as these talented and giving artists.
This year the award itself was totally new and so perfect and unique. This is a framed and signed print by Tom West, but is also a clock. Tom West is well known for his artistic and elaborate art clocks, so the award is perfection. The print is amazing, the frame is beautiful, the clock...all of it!!!
I took to the stage. My plan had been to graciously accept the award and skeedaddle as quickly as humanly possible, but then someone yelled,"Speech." So I tried my best to give an impromptu speech. There were near tears, a quivering voice, and mostly I just tried to express my love for the Nicolaysen Art Museum which is the very heart of arts in our community. Through this museum I have been able to nurture students, connect with amazing artists and supporters of the arts, grow as an artist, and become involved more deeply in our community. I am not sure how clearly I expressed those sentiments with my very unscripted speech, but it came from my heart.
After I was done I spent the rest of the night walking on a cloud! I have never won an award, unless you count a blue ribbon for drawing when I was 12. I am not sure how to accept such a kindness, but all I can do is take all of that love and shoot it back out at our community!