ArtsWorcester lost two beloved individuals and long-standing board members this past fall.
Many readers will remember Francis “Tuck” Amory, a long-standing ArtsWorcester board member and one of our great ambassadors. A professor of Urban Studies at WSU and a professional therapist, Tuck was a presence at every opening, introducing new friends to our exhibitions, buying art, generating endless ideas and enthusiasm not only for ArtsWorcester but also his beloved Mary Dolphin Art Gallery at Worcester State University. He left us with his favorite quote from Yeats, “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” He had much glory.
Hildegard Armstrong was, and remains, ArtsWorcester’s only “Life Member,” an honor given to her because there were none left to recognize her extraordinary efforts. She had, after all, already received the ArtsWorcester Award and the Worcester Women in Development Volunteer Award for her work here. Her friend Mary Warbasse writes of those years in the 1980s, when ArtsWorcester was still the Cultural Assembly of Greater Worcester:
“What I understand better now in hindsight is how important a board of working volunteers is to a fledgling organization that relies on public goodwill to accomplish its mission. Hildegard was the backbone of the office, and was frequently there: she answered the phone, edited documents, and as Treasurer, oversaw the financial records. Her most visible contribution was managing the CAGW mailing list. She created a database on her Apple home computer, and did the mailings, printing labels and often stuffed the envelopes herself. This was a significant amount of work for which the organization did not have the funds to pay someone to do. The financial assets of the organization were small, but its good will was measured in the database of members and contributors.”
As Kim Cutler described those early years, “Hildegard helped us to grow up and be more professional.” Hildegard continued working as the CAGW became ArtsWorcester, right up until 2013, when her health kept her from continuing. The database we use today was built from Hildegard’s records; her careful entries and devoted service live on in our work.