Monday, July 30, 2012

A Tribute to April Wilsey

by John Aldrich

ANE is losing another dedicated volunteer this summer. April Wilsey and her husband Bill are moving back to Southern California to be closer to their family. This will leave a void in our organization that will be hard to fill. April has been one of our most active volunteers over the eleven years or so that she and Bill have lived in Park City. She has worked in a variety of volunteer roles but has probably had her largest impact on the annual rug show.

April's first rug show came in the early years of the event when it was being held at the Kimball Art Center in Park City. That was before she was a full-time resident of Park City. After moving to P.C. she became very involved with the show and served as chairperson or co-chair for a number of different shows. Anyone who knows what's involved in putting on the show will realize what an enormous commitment in time and talent that this involves.

Another challenging position at the show is organizing the Friday night auction. April successfully carried out this role for a number of years. She also has played a key role in soliciting sponsorships for the rug show.

My first photo of April shows her at the 2004 show. I may have earlier pictures of her, but they would be on film and not easy to access. She's at a familiar place for her at the show, the Amasani table.

April has been responsible for several innovations at the show. One was the establishment of the Rug Show Manual. This is a compilation of the myriad of organizational details that must be tended to in order to have a successful show. It's updated, of course, every year, but new chairs now have a defined starting place for planning. April also came up with the idea of having a different chairperson for each day of the show. This spreads the workload around in a more readily defined manner and has worked quite successfully for the past several years.

Another big position for April has been coordinator of the Amasani Program in recent years. This provides an opportunity for classrooms to adopt an Elder and learn about Navajo culture. April, along with Rodger Williams, also traveled to many classrooms to bring firsthand demonstrations to school children as well as mini-rug shows.

April and Bill have attended many food runs where they would most likely be seen at Teesto where their adopted Elders, Frankie and Anna Jackson reside. The Wilseys developed a close relationship with the Jackson family and opened their home to them each November during the rug show.

In addition to all these other activities, April has been a member of ANE's board of directors, serving as its secretary.

Here's a small collection of photos in chronological sequence starting with the rug show of 2005 where April served as a co-chair:

During the setup for the 2006 show April poses next to the Christmas tree (which she donated) that is used to hang the Elders' ornaments.

April was co-chair again in 2006 and received another personalized rug to honor her work.

April and Bill are part of the volunteer group being introduced at the Sanders food run in the spring of 2008.

They posed later for this photo at Sanders.

At the rug show in 2008 April was again at a familiar spot setting up the Amasani table.

Back on the reservation in 2009 April is getting plastic bags ready for the rugs that will be purchased and donated at the Big Mountain food run.

The following day at Teesto, April and Bill pose with their adopted Elders Anna and Frankie Jackson.

A bit later that day April pauses for a quick moment of relaxation at the end of a shoulder massage chain.

At the 2010 rug show April is honored along with the other co-chairs. This was the first year for the new plan to have a co-chair for each day of the show - an approach that was April's inspiration.

April has received many honors for her work at ANE, and it's only fitting that she received another rug at last years rug show.

We will miss April's boundless enthusiasm and energy.

1 comment:

  1. It's always hard to lose a volunteer. Thanks for all you did!