Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, an educational service, is Vice-Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Public Art Committee.
Celebrating the Nasher family and the fifth anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center, architecture critic David Dillon, joined by Nancy Nasher, led a discussion at the Center Saturday afternoon. The packed house was enthralled to learn of the meetings, musings and modifications Ray Nasher went through to build NorthPark Center, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Nasher Museum at Duke University.
We learned that Ray was pragmatic and patient. We learned that he loved to be involved in every aspect of the building process, always challenging his team to think with creativity and originality. But as much as he loved creating the structures, we learned that it was the sculpture gracing those buildings that excited him even more. And perhaps even more than the art itself, he enjoyed sharing it all and inspiring people he knew and people he didn’t know.
He didn’t know Yvonne West. But she feels as if she knew Ray. Yvonne, a Tarrant County College student , was in the audience Saturday. She took the train to Dallas from Ft. Worth. She had never been to the Nasher before. She had never been to a sculpture museum before. As a matter of fact, she came somewhat reluctantly to fulfill a homework assignment.
Not able to drive since suffering a seizure in January, Yvonne’s medical problems are forcing her to change careers. The train ride gave her ample opportunity to dwell upon what she could do, who she could be. She found the answer at the Nasher.
So moved by the art, Nancy’s personal stories of her father’s wish to inspire, the wonder of the space and the experience of being part of the energized audience, Yvonne felt she had to speak up. David called upon her for the last question from the audience.
With the audio guide still around her neck, Yvonne stood up and and exclaimed with great emotion, “This has been a blessed day!” The audience listened wide-eyed. As a minority student, she said, she had never experienced such a day! She had no idea such joy could exist in an art museum, and she knew she wanted to be part of it. She would study art.
Yvonne West is just one of the multitude of people who will be Ray Nasher’s legacy. Her testimony left the audience of Duke luminaries, art collectors, art supporters and architects visibly moved. Ray would have been proud. It was a blessed day indeed!