Governor's Choice

Submitted by Gary on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 13:45

Gary and Governor Mead

Ann and Gary in Cheyenne

We had to make a quick decision, Ann and I. We decided that if the good weather held we'd go. It's a five hour drive from Buffalo to Cheyenne but it would be worth it to shake hands with the governor of Wyoming and ask him why he chose my painting, Drifting Along Toward Spring, for the award with his name upon it.

Backtracking a little, the show is called the Wyoming Governor's Capital Art Show. It's an annual event and one I've been in several times before. It was a Tuesday in early February when I got a call from Matthew Wilson with the State Museum (the show's venue) telling me Governor Matt Mead had personally chosen my piece for the award. The presentation ceremony was to be two days hence.

There are only two awards given in the show. The governor picks one and the show juror picks the other so it's a fine honor to get either one. It didn't take me a second to figure out that it would be cool to go to the ceremony and have a photo op with the governor. However, in winter Wyoming, weather is king. We'd had a lot of snow already and if another storm was imminent we'd just have to sit it out. We were lucky. It was very windy, blowing tractor trailers over on the interstate as if they were empty plastic milk jugs, but no snow!

The expedition was worth it. Governor Mead made the presentation himself and we had several opportunities to chat about the painting. As it turns out, he's an avid fisherman so the stream subject appealed to him. He'd done his homework and knew the painting was from our Bighorn Mountains but astutely observed that it could be lots of places in the state: a fact that broadened its appeal.

Also at the reception was Matt's statuesque and erudite wife, Carol, a strong advocate for children and the arts, and Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Director, Darin Westby. Our friends, Jim and Robin Devine were there from Laramie. Jim's a legend for his stunning historical figurative paintings and Robin is one of Ann's best friends from childhood. All in all it was a terrific evening and we're sure glad the weather was kind enough to cooperate.