Taylor County Arts Council dedicates cornerstone at Gallery 62 West

The memory of Taylor County Arts Council member Mary Curry Shuttlesworth will live on in future generations, with the dedication of a cornerstone at Gallery 62 West in her honor. (Nicki Skinner/Mountain Statesman)

TAYLOR COUNTY—Gallery 62 West and the arts were something very close to Mary Curry Shuttlesworth’s heart, so members of the Taylor County Arts Council felt it only fitting to honor her in a way that would help carry her memory on for future generations.

On Friday, family and friends of Shuttlesworth gathered inside Gallery 62 West and among the beautiful display of Christmas trees, shared laughter and tears as they told stories of their dearly departed during a cornerstone dedication.

“When I think of Mary and cornerstones, it seems only fitting. The whole point of a corner stone is to hold things together,” voiced BJ Lyons. “Mary held a lot of things together. She was an example of how to be a liaison between so many groups.”

He said that often, when Shuttlesworth would walk into the gallery, her eyes would light up with ideas and wonderful exhibits to bring to the community.

“Mary contributed to the council in countless ways, always willing to volunteer her time to help bring art to Taylor County,” said Vicki Aucremanne.

Many friends recalled that Mary always had creative ideas and enthusiasm for projects and classes at the gallery, and she wasn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up to help out.

Diane Parker told the group that her friend was not someone who volunteered someone for a job, she voluntold them that they were going to do it.

“I’ll never forget sitting here, probably three years ago now, and Mary’s saying ‘We need an exhibit for the February show.’ I said, ‘Mary, it’s January, we should have a thought of that a year ago,’ and she said, ‘well you need to do that,’” Parker shared. “And that is how I became curator down here!”

Parker said that the Festival of Trees was always something that Shuttlesworth held close to her heart, so this year, she worked extra hard to ensure she decorated plenty of trees for those in attendance to not only view but to bid on.

Long-time friend Holly Hill, who formed a friendship with Shuttlesworth through the Taylor County Arts Council, shared that they became fast friends and eventually business partners.

“That’s where I miss her the most, because I don’t have her there to talk to,” Hill commented. “So, I just ask myself ‘What would Mary do?,’ and I know she’s still there to guide me along.”

Friends took turns recalling stories of how they had met Mary and the impact that she had on their lives before Lyons announced that a plaque, bearing Mary’s name, had been placed on the cornerstone of the building.

“It was only fitting to memorialize Mary and her dedication to the Taylor County Arts Council,” Lyons voiced. “Now, her memory will live on in future generations.”

He noted that the cornerstone could be viewed by guests and passersby, located near the bench at the front left corner of the building.

“I can’t think of anything that would have made Mary happier,” voiced her brother Ron Curry. “She may not have been big on celebrating herself, but underneath it all, she is truly deserving.”

“Mary had this unique ability to just love everyone. I can’t think of anyone who loved people as much as she did,” Curry expressed. “None of us had a champion like her. So, I just like to say thank you very much for this. It is incredibly befitting and so special.”

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