Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bagley Wright.

I was hired by the Seattle Art Museum board to launch a full bore public affairs/press office for the King Tut exhibit in the late 70s.  That's me talking to a line of people about how long a wait they would have to get into the exhibition, which hosted over 1,100,000 people in the six months that it visited Seattle.

I met Bagley Wright when I briefed the board on our plans for media coverage and VIP visitors.  He and his wife, Virginia Bloedel Wright,  helped form more of the current collection at SAM than you can imagine. After Tut, I stayed on to create a grants office, and aggregate some other functions like publications and public relations into my responsibilities.  That's when I got to know Bagley better -- he stepped in during a long search process for a new museum director to be the interim director.  And we all loved it.  We would have walked through fire for him.  It was during this interim period that ten of his friends got together to name the new repertory theater after him.  "Usually," he said, "they only name theaters after dead people."

When I left the museum after 7 years, he and John Hauberg took my husband and I out to dinner at Canlis.  I was nearly nine months pregnant, and not very hungry -- but will forever remember an evening spent with two of the greatest philanthropists that Seattle will ever know. 

I had wanted to find the black and white photo of Bagley and former Mayor Charles Royer and myself, conferring after an acrimonious meeting on what was eventually to be a new downtown museum.  I have looked through many files and scrapbooks, but cannot find it easily without lifting more boxes with my bum elbow.  So I'll hold it clearly in my mind and lift a glass instead, as I recall this amazing man -- erudite, witty, a lover of arts and culture, and (as he liked to call himself) an old newspaper man.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Classic shots, Annie. What a wonderful tribute.