Late last year a small group of Spring Lake residents met to discuss fellow Spring Laker, Winsor McCay, and the disturbing lack of recognition here in his hometown. We brainstormed fabulous ways to mark his time spent here, but quickly realized our first step was going to have to be Education. Before a town can applaud a man, they have to know who he is. And very few people in Spring Lake had ever heard of Winsor McCay. So we came up with five steps to reintroduce Spring Lake to its most famous unknown son.
Step One: Start a good collection of McCay resources at the Spring Lake District Library
And boy, they've done that. When we first started meeting, the library had maybe two books on McCay and one DVD. In just a year they've amassed a Super collection of resources. And they are prominently displayed in their own special area. I try to review many of these resources here on the site as they come in.
Step Two: Start this blog
This is the 60th entry so far. Hopefully "Meeting McCay" can be a one-stop-spot for anyone seeking information on McCay - his life, his art, and they many ways he's been honored over the years. And it's intended to be place (for anyone who is interested) to keep up-to-date on the progress we're making in Spring Lake MI to create a permanent, physical, tribute to the man and his legacy.
Launch "McCay Day"
The first McCay Day was held in Spring Lake last month, and it was a great success! (You can read about it in posts below...) We hope to make McCay Day an annual event. This last year was a learning experience, and we hope to make the event bigger, grander, and farther-reaching year by year.
Step Four: Post a Historical Marker
In less than a year, we've accomplished steps 1 through 3. Step four, a Marker, is our current focus. Right now there is Nothing physically acknowledging McCay's presence in Spring Lake. Not a plaque, not a sign, not a name on a bench. We'd like to get a big historical marker, with good biographical content, and place it near the location of his childhood home or school. We're looking at our choices, examining costs, and weighing all the options. This is a huge next step.
Step Five: A Permanent Physical Memorial
This is the ultimate goal. We've talked about lots of ways to pay tribute to McCay in his hometown. Here are a few of the many things we've discussed:
• Name a park after himAll these are good ideas, and we hope to do as many of them as we can. But I think our hearts are set on the Statue most of all. A statue of McCay... or of Gertie... or of Little Nemo characters... or all of them mingled together. A statue to be placed either in an existing park, or a new park designed specifically for this. We're dreaming big.
• Name a street after him
• Start a McCay Art Scholarship for local students
• Hold an annual Film Festival
• Sprinkle bronze Dinosaur Footprints around town with McCay content
• Start a collection of original McCay art
• Start a Tribute Gallery of art by other professionals inspired by McCay
• Build a Statue
Illustrator Aaron Zenz whipped up this concept drawing for us, and I think it's a good place to start. I won't repeat in this post what I've already said before, so you can read more about the statue ideas here. But that's what the Big Goal is. That's our Rarebit Dream. It'll be expensive, and take lots of planning and fund raising. But I think McCay deserves a monument Somewhere in the world. And why not here in his hometown?
So Reader, what do you make of all this? Is McCay and his work worthy of a physical Tribute? Feel free to throw your thoughts into the comments area...