Everyone has a favorite day, maybe Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, but my favorite day is April 21, Margaret Milam McDermott Day. Margaret McDermott Day represents the best of all holidays. For example, Margaret McDermott represents the generous Christmas spirit of giving. She is a sophisticated philanthropist who gives more than money, she provides ideas, inspiration, support, mentoring to students, professionals, artists, doctors, civic leaders, and organizations that contribute to Dallas.
In Dallas one can treat every day like a giant Easter egg hunt discovering one jewel after another that Margaret McDermott has brought to life – academic chairs, museum directorships, fellowships, schools, museums, concert halls, gardens, parks, buildings and bridges. Who represents the Fourth of July better than Margaret McDermott if patriotism starts with love of family, and ripples out to friends, neighbors, the community, Texas, and the country. Having served as a society column writer at the Dallas Morning News and as a war correspondent, Margaret McDermott shows her love of family, people and the country is contagious.
On a spring day of a new century, April 18, 2000, Dallas proclaimed April 21 Margaret Milam McDermott Day. A unanimous vote by the Dallas County Commissioners Court was held up by John Wiley Price Who opposed the resolution because he desired even more of Margaret McDermott’s contributions and achievements be added to the resolution.
One wonders how long the delay would be today if a list accomplishments and contributions made since 2000 were tallied and added to the resolution.
The 20th century turned out to be just the foundation of Margaret McDermott’s contributions to Dallas. For instance, her vision of the Trinity River and the Santiago Calatrava-designed bridges were the foundation for Trinity Park and Stuart Fitts’ assemblage of land for future development and the current Trinity Groves, introducing the area south and west of the river to thousands.
The incredible McDermott scholars at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) receive financial support and her mentoring. Last month one of her Monet paintings was on exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum. The picture was the highlight of the exhibition Monet: The Early Years, and was loaned in honor of the former associate director of curatorial affairs and senior curator of European and American art at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), Olivier Meslay.
Last week, landscape architect, Peter Walker, who the Dallas Morning News called the dean of American landscape, and who is responsible for designing the landscape of the Nasher Sculpture Center and brilliant projects across the country, received the inaugural Brettell Award in the Arts. One of the most inspired Margaret McDermott projects was the book she wrote and published, and while not yet released, it is my favorite art history book. This book illustrates her collection, the history and thoughts on her acquisition of her paintings destined to go to the DMA.
There are dozens of other small and large gestures, inspirations and contributions Margaret McDermott has made to Dallas in the last 17 years, since the resolution came to fruition, and we can anticipate many more. As we celebrate the anniversary of Margaret McDermott Day on April 21, honoring Margaret Milan McDermott, and her talented daughter Mary Cook, and amazing granddaughter Grace Cook, as citizens of Dallas, and nieces and nephews as honorary citizens of Dallas, please share a contribution she has made to you, your organization or other contributions to Dallas.
The interwoven generosity of Margaret Milam McDermott creates the rich fabric of Dallas.
Thank you Mrs. McDermott!