This morning I attended an extraordinary gathering at the Nasher Sculpture Center as they anticipated welcoming their one-millionth visitor. It was exciting. We were given "One Millionth Visitor" stickers (cool) and signed a framed poster for the lucky museum-goer...among other fun surprises.
Can you imagine? Unsuspecting tourist approaches and might be the Millionth: captured on cameras, embraced by dozens of Nasher staff and Arts District Friends. I was nervous walking up to the door. Fortunatley I was not the Millionth. We chatted and watched. And chatted and watched. Stonewall Jackson Elementary gathered outside with three tour groups. Sweet young minds filed in with their teachers--likely in awe of our presence, the cameras and the general electricity in the air.
Lucky # 1,000,000 was Cheri Flynn, an art educator at SJE in the Dallas Independent School District. Cheri's an old friend to the Arts District. She's a gifted teacher who understands the invaluable moments that happen when young artists engage with original works of art. She spoke eloquently (on camera!) about how arts significantly impact our quality of life, the importance of museums, and the vital and essential need for the arts in education. These are the messages we need to see on the local/state news more than ever.
Her summer camps in the Lakewood area are full before she advertises them--she is sculpting young minds who can think, and talk and write about art. I know--because in a second moment of serendipity--I sat with Emma Vernon from the Dallas Museum of Art at the Downtown Dallas Annual Luncheon. Emma ran into "Mrs. Flynn" on Flora Street in the Dallas Arts District before she walked into work today. Mrs. Flynn was her art teacher. At Stonewall Jackson. Emma is now working at the Dallas Museum of Art and mentioned many of Cheri's students were enjoying successful careers in the arts.
I wonder how many of the 999,999 visitors who experienced the Nasher Sculpture Center since it opened in 2003 did so because of an Art Teacher? You can count me a few times--because that is exactly how I got here.