Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The End of an Era

Sometime in the mid-1990s, Gail and Baylor Nichols arrived in our little town. I'm not very good remembering dates, but I do recall the sensation of change. And it was change they brought. An unique energy surrounded them, and there was always lots of art. Art everywhere.

Inside our little town, Gail and Baylor created an artists colony. Over the years, their home became the center for many meetings that brought together artists from all over the region, including New Kent, King William, King and Queen, Lancaster counties, the cities of Richmond, Williamsburg, and more. It was an exciting time. Color abounded, and energy glowed in and around their home.

Arts Alive was born and, often with a push from Gail and Baylor, the visual arts program grew. Our little town vibrated with excitement, especially on the day each month when a workshop brought special focus to the arts.

At first, those workshops, many of which were presentations sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, were held at the West Point Branch Library. Later, most took place at the local YMCA. All were well-attended, and regional artists became friends.

It was a sad time for the artists and the town when Baylor suffered a short illness and died. Her heart heavy, Gail continued their artist mission, created shows of his work and more.

When a club in our little town held its 2019 Christmas dinner in Gail's art-filled home, I had no idea it would be our last meeting there. Their house was a center for the arts for many years. The artistic camaraderie there all through the years will be missed. 
Gail has moved to Florida to be closer to her children, and we are left with memories. We remember Baylor standing on a ladder, patiently hanging art works outside the auditorium at the Art Center. We think of Gail, fluttering about like a cheerful butterfly, keeping everything from show hangings to art workshops organized and moving. 
So many memories. It's hard to witness the end of an era. Thank you, Gail Nichols for the many memories and for beginning our little Art Colony.


Tina G. said...

I will miss Gail who taught me that a creative but not artistic person can love painting, fluid painting that is. She served the town well through arts alive, church, and town council. She will be missed. Enjoy your family Gail and keep in touch.. Godspeed. Tina Gulley

Birgit said...

It sounds like it was such a glorious time and it becomes so bittersweet when it ends. Although, I am happy she moved closer to her children it must have been hard on her to leave a place where she and her husband built so many memories. It may even have hurt too much for her to stay. I hope that, somehow, your community of artists can somehow still get together to create and build new memories.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Tina and Birgit, for your comments. I so enjoy the artistic spirit that brightens the lives of us all.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry she isn't there with you anymore but you will treasure the memories. Her children will enjoy her now.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Alex!!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

She was a ray of sunshine while she was there. I hope the two of you stay in touch.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Diane, we will. I think the artist group should meet periodically by Zoom as well.