By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com
(Riverton, Wyo.) – A group of Riverton High School glass artists will have some of their work featured on the Christmas tree in the Wyoming Governor’s Residence this holiday season in Cheyenne. Another student had her glass art chosen for First Lady Carol Mead’s high school art display at the residence through this spring.
“This all began at the Wyoming High School Art Symposium last April,” said RHS glass art instructor Marianne Vinich. “Mrs. Mead attended, and she is an exceptional supporter of the Arts and of high school artists. She picked out some pieces for display at the Governor’s residence and now this is becoming an annual event,” Vinich said. Each student whose art is chosen for the display also receives a ribbon.
The RHS student with a piece in the annual display is Annie Phister, who created a glass art Nativity scene. “Mrs. Mead fell in love with that piece, so Annie also made a smaller version that she is gifting to the First Lady,” Vinich said.
Vinich, who is the publicity director for the Wyoming Secondary Art Educator’s Association, said an informal discussion she had with the First Lady sparked the idea to have high school artists produce decorations for the residence’s Christmas tree. “We had nine other schools sign up, and they’ve sent student art pieces which we’ll take to Cheyenne this next Wednesday for a formal tea with the First Lady and to decorate the tree,” Vinich said. The RHS instructor said Mrs. Mead hosts many dignitaries over the holiday season at the residence, and each one will be able to pick a decoration off of the tree to take home with them.
While nine schools are participating, only two will send student delegations to Cheyenne, Riverton and Cody. The other schools are from Gillette, Pinedale, Greybull, Evanston and Cheyenne.
Phister said the large Nativity scene she made took her “about two or three months working one hour a day” to complete. The smaller one, the gift for Mrs. Mead, took only several weeks. “I knew what I was doing by then, so it didn’t take as long,” she said.
Asked what her inspiration was for the art piece, Phister said it was her mother. “My mom loves Nativity scenes so my sister suggested that would be a good project. Mrs. V helped me with standing up the pieces. Mrs. Mead liked the large piece so much that I decided to make her a small one that she could keep,” Annie said.
The work of Riverton High School’s glass artists were featured at last winter’s Governor’s Arts Award ceremony in Cheyenne. The round art pieces of fused glass featured iconic Wyoming scenes and wildlife. The artwork served as centerpieces for each of the banquet tables.