Aubrey & Virginia Richards named Spieler Lifetime Achievement Award recipients at the Bosque Arts Center's 39th Annual Big Event
CLIFTON – After the cancellation of the marquee event last year due to COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings during the pandemic, the Bosque Arts Center's 39th Annual Big Event was a long time coming. But when the fun-filled weekend came to an end Saturday, April 10, it proved to be well worth the wait.
Following a fun-filled Big Game Casino Night on Friday, April 9, the Big Event provided patrons an exciting “Evening on Safari,” concluding by paying tribute to the special lady who had the original dream, Joan Spieler, by honoring those who have carried on her tradition.
Aubrey and Virginia Richards were named the 2021 recipients of the Spieler Lifetime Achievement Award given to individuals who have gone above and beyond in volunteering at the BAC over the course of many years. Named after the BAC founder, Spieler received the first lifetime achievement award six months before she passed away for her dedication and tireless input to the arts center.
Likewise, the Richards have been ardent supporters of the BAC and several sub-groups since their first involvement with our organization in 2005.
Virginia has served on the BAC Board of Directors for several years, including terms as vice-president and president. She has also served as president of the Culinary Club and has served many years on the Big Event Committee. She currently is head of the Nominating Committee. Virginia was also an active participant the Capital Campaign effort which brought to fruition the completion of the Frazier Performance Hall and the second elevator.
The Richards are long-time patrons of the Tin Building Theatre as well as Art Patrons. Virginia has served two terms on the Art Council board, while Aubrey has served as treasurer of the Art Council and “official painting hanger” for the annual Art Classic.
Aubrey is also actively involved with the Troubadour concert committee. Aubrey’s entry to that committee derived from happenstance. In the parking lot of Sam’s, he came upon Troubadour originator Judi Boston and Kristye Fehler, who had purchased more event supplies than they could fit into a suburban. Aubrey loaded up his vehicle, and the rest was history.
With the help of the Richards' daughter, Megan Belknap, Blake Holman presented the award. Holman listed their endeavors, noting his participation in variety shows with Aubrey.
"From tutus, to line dancing to rabbit / bunny outfits – HE is pure fun." Blake also added that he and his wife, Joan, "consider ourselves so blessed and are ever so thankful that we had the chance to meet this couple who are beacons of and have introduced us to the most welcoming community in the world."
Accepting the award, Virginia and Aubrey spoke of how they love Bosque County and the various groups with which they are involved. Virginia emphasized the importance of volunteering or supporting organizations, likening it to tossing a pebble into a pond.
“The ripples flow outward and affect the community at large,” she said. The Bosque Arts Center feels fortunate to have this wonderful couple contributing to life in our little "pond."
Elevating the annual fundraising to an art for, the Bosque Arts Center once again delivered an event the movers and shakers in Bosque County love to attend, year after year. Following the cancellation of the BAC was happy to invite patrons to another two-day celebration of the cultural center – a Big Event Weekend.
Months of planning looks effortless in the themed Big Event fundraising evenings. The organizing committee comes up with new exciting theme ideas each year to keep donors from getting disinterested. Throughout the years, the concept was changed, from a two-day affair to one activity-packed evening, and in 2019 – staying with the technology of the times – adding the online auction.
With this year’s theme “Evening on Safari,” the Serengeti band -- led by veteran music ranger Brian Barrett -- delivered tunes to dance the night away -- from Classic Rock to Country, Texas Swing to R&B.
At every event, it remains evident that the BAC cannot exist without its battalions of loyal, dedicated and always smiling volunteers and the ever-generous patrons that financially support the arts. Their names in the evening’s program show how many donate their time, effort and dedication to the center. And the Richards have spent a lifetime doing just that.
Photos by DEBRA EVANS & courtesy of BOSQUE ARTS CENTER
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