By Susan Newhof and Mary Wisnom
We lost a dear friend in August when artist and Arts Council member Cheryl Whelan got her wings.
Cheryl was creative and fun, and meticulous with detail – talents that enabled her to help support and promote the mission of the Arts Council when she chaired the fledgling organization in 1988 and 1989. Eager to establish a place where local artists could display and sell their art, she became a founding member and director of the Arts Council’s White River Gallery as well as its first paid bookkeeper. She helped organize and run the Gallery’s highly successful, long-running fundraiser Art in the Barn, and in 1999, she was awarded the Arts Council’s Cathy Seggie Service Award in recognition of her leadership and support of the arts in White Lake.
Cheryl and her husband, Howard, also became founding members of the Arts Council’s Legacy Circle.
Besides being devoted to her family and passionate about her beautifully designed gardens, Cheryl was a champion for needy cats.
Recently friends and fellow artists reminisced about this talented woman whose blend of right and left brain skills was a hallmark of both her art and her leadership.
“As director of White River Gallery, Cheryl was a strong and very efficient leader who encouraged and supported the member artists,” remembers Marilyn Ryan. “She knew more than the rest of us about business practices and kept us on track when we needed it.”
“Cheryl had the unique ability to use her precise and analytical skills and blend them with creativity,” recalls Patti Townsend. “The result was truly artistic treasures in both garden design and pastel paintings.”
Kathy Rogers remembers working with Cheryl during the early days of the Gallery. “I had ideas and Cheryl always knew how to make them happen,” says Kathy. “She was a master, whether it was her gallery work, painting, or gardening. She will be missed for this and so much more.”
Cheryl’s loving, creative spirit lives on in our hearts, our gardens, the art on our walls, and the cats in our laps.
We grateful to Cheryl's family who suggested the ACWL-Nuveen as a recipient for those wishing to give a gift in Cheryl's memory. If you would like to make a donation in Cheryl's honor, please mail a check to 106 E. Colby St. Whitehall, MI 49461