I'm currently in Chapel Hill, NC on the campus of UNC. I had a scheduled meeting with some senior staff of the Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU). They are the organization that graciously stepped in and decided to fund the commission. I'm not going to lie to you, the suits usually scare me to the point that I try and avoid them at all possible costs. Corporate and artists are usually oil and water that separate along a distinct creative line. But considering what this crew has done and their affiliation with the School of Government, they had to be given the benefit of doubt and assumed cool until proven guilty. I'm happy to report that we had an absolutely wonderful lunch meeting. They were attentive and very committed to the project beyond their financial aid. It's attitudes like that that makes you appreciate the sponsorship even more and want to work even harder to ensure that they are kept in the creative loop as much as possible. I even went so far as to extend an invitation to visit Charleston and view the process first hand, which I hope they will take advantage of. The meeting was also attended by a couple members of the staff (SOG Dean - Michael Smith and Faith Thompson, Assistant Dean of Development) as well as one of the original committee members, Chandra Cox.
Chandra Cox (Head of NCSU Dept. of Art & Design), Ann Simpson (SOG Associate Dean),
Michael Spink (LGFCU Comm. Mgr.), Ashley Ruffin (LGFCU Marketing) and Mark Caverly, (Exec. VP, LGFCU)
After the meeting I spent some time with Ann going over the names of the chosen few for the painting. Alas, a few heads rolled, but a couple were added. This process reminds me of a quote by film auteur John Huston who once said of movie scripts, "they're never finished, they're simply abandoned before shooting." I get the feeling that right up to the moment paint hits the canvas, history will continue to unfold (as it should). She produced some extra research material that contained more photographs of the subjects. Some have proven to be rather elusive. I also had a chance to meet a graduate intern, Barron Monroe, who has done some preliminary research at the Wilson Library that will save me a tremendous amount of time. I shall have to feed the young man and fill him with much drink for his efforts.