Cary Gallery of Artists lost its founding president, Winnie Ferguson, on June 16th. We mourn her loss and express appreciation for all she did for our gallery and for the arts in Cary. Her strength and optimism were admirable to the end.
Winnie at her opening of “A Few of My Favorite Things” on May 25th at Cary Gallery of Artists
Following is the text of the tribute made by Cary Gallery at Winnie Ferguson’s memorial service on July 1, 2012, by gallery president, Monica Hunter.
I am Monica Hunter, the current president of the Cary Gallery of Artists. Cary Gallery of artists is cooperative gallery which means that the artists who show and sell at the gallery actually help run the gallery-all together. We refer to these artists as members. We have 23 member artists at this time. Winnie was the push and the leader who founded our gallery 7 years ago. She did not accomplish this amazing feat alone. Winnie had a lot of help which included her husband Joe, the other founding artists, friends, the spouses of the founding artists, and Ralph and Daphne Ashworth. Our gallery was built from scratch and was on a very limited budget. It was and still is a work in progress. Winnie became the reigning Queen of our gallery. She was the president of this evolving entity. At times she expressed her dismay when members did not always share her enthusiasm for doing more in support of our gallery. Winnie insisted on having live music at our monthly Final Friday receptions, often arranging for one of her talented sons, Marty or Warren, to perform for us. When Winnie’s presidential term expired – she moved onto the marketing committee-”briefly”. She soon formed the events committee where she was able to once again reign as the Queen of Events. Her talents for networking, and developing new ways to showcase our gallery has produced our most popular and anticipated event: The Cary Gallery of Artists Annual Small Treasures Juried show. This show has an award ceremony with generous cash awards and is judged by acclaimed North Carolina artists. In perpetual honor of Winnie Jean Flanegan Ferguson our gallery will be presenting The Winnie Ferguson award at this annual show. The winner’s names will be engraved and placed on a plaque displayed in our gallery. As I have stated we have 23 member artists, several of whom want me to share their thoughts and sentiments about Winnie.
Following are quotes from members:
Winnie was tenacious, loyal, hard working, and direct. Giving more than needed – you could always count on her word. She was a Dear Friend and fellow artist. I feel honored in having had her friendship!
Winnie seemed to utilize every minute of every day. She was resilient, innovative and resourceful.
She was a great artist and teacher.
She loved color and texture.
Dedicated to family, friends, church, the Town of Cary, and our gallery
I went to chemo with Winnie 3 times. She always scheduled friends to come and sit with her for an hour or two at a time for this 6 hour ordeal. What struck me the most was how she turned this procedure into a social gathering. Winnie laughed and told stories. She was always dolled up with makeup and a crazy hat.
I really look up to Winnie. She is the reason I am still in the gallery. I want to grow up to be like her, someone who is free spirited and does not give a hoot what anyone says or thinks about her.
Last summer I had a wonderful time working on the gallery cookbook. This was a project that Winnie decided to accomplish despite having just being diagnosed with cancer. We met at Winnie and Joe’s long dining room table and were served tea, often by Joe, and sweets that Winnie had baked. We shuffled recipes around and talked about cooking and food and made a lot of jokes. The cookbook allowed us to gather a sort of legacy about our artist members.
She was a friend, a supporter, an innovator, a hard worker but most of all – a leader. We had a dream – to have a gallery to show our work. But it was Winnie’s leadership that got it started and made it a reality. It was said we wouldn’t last a year. Winnie often said “We sure showed them!” In memory of Winnie we will strive to continually make it a respected, successful gallery.
Thank you, Winnie
We will miss your wise and wonderful soul.