Keep shining on: Artists debut works in memory of Sancy Shaw, with proceeds going to scholarship
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An unprecedented gathering of artists, some nationally and internationally known, are teaming up to honor a young North Routt mother that many of them never knew.
“I had never met the Shaws, but I guess like everybody else, got blown away by what happened to them and how it could happen to any one of us,” said Suzi Mitchell, organizer for Shine On: An Art Show to benefit the Sancy Shaw Memorial Scholarship.
Mitchell, a longtime writer and relatively new artist, learned of Sancy Shaw’s death on Christmas Eve like many others — in the news. A drunk-driver crashed into Shaw’s car. She died while her 6-year-old daughter survived to face a harrowing recovery. Shaw also left behind a husband, three boys and a classroom full of students at the North Routt Charter School, as a devastated community rallied around the family.
Nearly a year later, Mitchell found herself interviewing the widower for a story on a scholarship awarded in Sancy Shaw’s name.
She was so moved by Brett Shaw’s memory of his wife and how the scholarship was meant to perpetuate her legacy for living life to the fullest that she asked him if she could create an art show to support the scholarship.
“She impacted and inspired so many people, especially young people,” said Mitchell.
Within three days, artists, restaurants and performers were signing up to help entertain and donate art with 100% going to the Sancy Shaw Memorial Scholarship.
Glass artisan Jennifer Baker specifically fired up her kiln for a custom piece of art in honor of Shaw.
“It was one of those moments you stopped in your tracks and realize what you have and how precious life is and how quickly it can be gone,” Baker said after hearing of Sancy’s tragic death.
Suzi Mitchell approached Baker about donating a piece of art. Baker found herself in her studio reading intently about the Shaws in hopes of capturing Sancy’s essence before starting the process of creating her art.
“I didn’t know her personally but I was standing in my studio and I just started bawling after reading about her life and her kids and how full of life she was,” said Baker.
Then Baker said she stopped reading and concentrated on Sancy’s joy for living, instead of her death.
Sponsors/contributors include Sotheby’s, Steamboat Grand, Element Print and Design; 7th Street Liquor, Tall Tulips, Steamboat Magazine, Easts West Frame Shop and Steamboat Frameworks
“This event was about celebrating her life and what it was about… I decided I was going to do the most bright and colorful piece.”
Baker’s stunning, one-of-a-kind piece is just one of many on the Shine On website where people can start bidding at artforsancy.com. Or, the items can be seen in person at the December First Friday Artwalk on Dec. 6 and then bid on them from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the art show inside the Jace Romick Gallery, where local youth have already decorated in preparation for the event.
Internationally known sculptor Sandy Graves donated a piece in bronze titled “Transporter.” The sculpture of a parent reading to her child is about “books and literature and their power to transport you from wherever you are to somewhere else,” Graves wrote in the artist description. It seemed a fitting tribute for Sancy who taught English and science.
Sancy’s first scholarship was awarded this spring to Tallak Myhre who attends the University of Colorado Boulder. The $12,000 four-year scholarship embodies what it was to “Live like Sancy” and is awarded to a Steamboat Springs High School Student who inspires those around them.
“Tallak is smart, loves the outdoors, loves people and has a huge heart,” Mitchell said. “He spent a summer back East looking after his grandmother with Alzheimer’s.”
Myhre and other scholarship winners promise to mentor others during their college life.
After a year of watching the community rush to the aid of his precious family, Brett Shaw is not surprised at the generosity of the art world as they help make the scholarship a force for good.
“We’re trying to reach out to kids so it’ll affect people for generations,” Shaw said. “To have these artists all come together for this purpose is extremely humbling.”
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