A Dream Becomes Reality
With just hours to go before the Ribbon-cutting Ceremony and Grand Reopening of the Gibbes Museum, I want to take a moment to thank so many people who have made this journey possible. We began our celebratory events last Saturday night with a gala for our Capital Campaign Leadership Donors, and have continued throughout the week to embrace our nearest and dearest who have stood by us during our 18-month renovation.
Our amazing gala co-chairs Jill Almeida and Shannon Gillespie not only planned an amazing evening for all of us, but they cared for the staff by bringing us wonderful treats to keep us going, both healthy and not so healthy. Floral designers Gretchen Cuddy and Jane Pearman created truly spectacular decorations, and Croghan’s Jewel Box provided beautiful commemorative favors for our guests to take home at the end of the evening.
We were delighted to have sweetgrass artist Mary Jackson and her husband Stoney with us for the evening. We are thrilled to honor her with the Mary Jackson modern and contemporary gallery and want to thank everyone who contributed. Jonathan Green, who provided the visual inspiration for Spoleto’s forthcoming Porgy and Bess production, which in turn inspired us to curate the exhibition on the third floor, also joined us for the celebration. And of course a huge thank you to our fearless leader, Board Chair Laura Gates, who has kept us all steady and on track during this incredible roller coaster ride. Her intelligence, grace and leadership have made this all happen for us and I am deeply grateful.
Briefly I want to acknowledge two families, and one personal relationship because with the whirlwind of activities ahead of us I know I will not get another chance. The first family is comprised of the Gibbes staff members. It is only through their belief, vision, planning, and hard work that we have reached this historic moment for the Gibbes, our city, and the world of American art. I hope you will indulge me as I list their names. Zinnia Willits, Lasley Steever, Jen Ross, Wendi Ammons, Sara Arnold, Pam Wall, Greg Jenkins, Jena Clem, Rebecca Sailor, Amanda Breen, Becca Hiester, Jim Dixon, Carla Kennett, Clarence Kelly, Erin Banks and our newest members Amanda Liguori and Lizzy Goodrich. With the reopening of the Museum, you see the results of their collective dream and sacrifice to create a great art museum for our city and one that is worthy of their museum professionalism.
The second family is our construction family. I call this group a family because together we have experienced each other’s unvarnished personalities and the fullest range of emotions while working on this project. Among us there are the talkers and the non-talkers, those who are aggressive and those who are passive-aggressive. We have those who are volatile and those who are unflappable. We have the optimists, the pessimists, the martyrs, and the saints. We have argued, patted each other on the back, smiled, cried, laughed, worried, and machinated over every minute detail of this building, many of which you will never see. But what has bound us together these past many months is pride in our work. Everyone who has worked on this project from the most to the least skilled knows the value of this job and has done their very best. This includes Joe Schmidt our architect; Jeff Daly, our museum designer; Anita Jorgensen, our lighting designer; Nick Cameron and Lauren Amos, our project managers; NBM, our construction team; Andrew Steever of SquarePoint Design; Jorge Sanchez our landscape architect; and 3 Oaks, our landscape construction team.
Finally I want to share a few words about the personal relationship I mentioned earlier. There is someone who truly is the unsung hero of this story. He has experienced every high and every low, every success and failure, every joy, heartache and surprise. He has been my strongest advocate, my harshest critique, and my steadiest sounding board. His thoughts and ideas are all over this building, and part of our future operations; and, his sacrifice has been huge. He has been the love of my life since we first met 43 years ago. Ben this celebration is my gift to you. Thank you for helping me to see this through.
—Angela D. Mack, Executive Director, Gibbes Museum of Art
Modified from remarks made at the Gibbes Reopening Gala on May 21, 2016.