Nancy Lamb's own work displayed at Spring Gallery Night this year, entitled Take Care of Our World.
Nancy Lamb with her now iconic Fort Worth sculpture - The Jackalope.
ARTIST DAY 357 - I give you seeker, peripatetic, transcendent, kind and amazing Gregg Froman.
ARTIST DAY 358 - I give you romantic, wistful, desirous, delicate and sophisticated Carly Allen Martin.
Nancy Lamb - The effervescent, incomparable artist herself. Photo credit Ariel Davis.
Nancy Lamb is instantly recognizable around town.
Artist, sculptor, painter and patron saint of the arts in Fort Worth, Nancy Lamb has seen it all during the course of her nearly five decade career.
For longtime locals, passing by Lamb’s now iconic Jackalope ― the quirky sculpture that is still sitting on its haunches atop the building that now houses FastSigns along Camp Bowie ― still makes us giggle. This year marks the mythical creature’s 40th birthday. Lamb recalls crafting the giant sculptural folly out of chicken wire and paper mâché.
“I knew that wouldn’t hold up to the elements so I had the whole thing fiberglassed by a boat maker,” Lamb tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “It debuted exactly 40 years ago in April of 1981, and it’s lasted all that time. I painted every hair on that rabbit.”
The beloved Jackalope is hardly Lamb’s only claim to fame. The accomplished artist has had showings in New York and as far afield as Italy. Lamb may have traded in her once bold red locks for blonde curls instead these days, but her trademark statement eyewear and her perpetually laughing smile still make her instantly recognizable around town.
Then, exactly one year ago, the artist found herself all alone ― quarantining like the rest of us, with no end in sight. Businesses shuttered and city streets emptied ― the world had changed in an instant.
“It took me nearly a week to wrap my brain around what was going on,” Lamb says.
She knew artists were going to have a hard time selling their pieces during the global pandemic — and she wanted to help. Somehow. So in what became a daily post on her Facebook page, Lamb began presenting one artist a day to the masses. For no other reason than to champion their work, drawing much needed attention to the working artists in her personal orbit.
This Saturday April 3, will mark a full 365 days of such posts.
What began as a curious distraction for many of us who jumped onboard early, exposed thousands to a dazzling array of gifted creatives. Lamb has featured pottery, sculpture, glass, painting and even peach pit carving. She gave everyone a peek behind the curtain, heralding her picks’ artistic expression and personal attributes with a series of adjectives. Then she took everyone on private, virtual tours of some of her favorite artists’ studios and galleries.
Those featured have been mostly local Texas artists. The only criterion was that Lamb had to know them somehow, “even if that meant only a brief meeting at an opening over the years.”
All the while, Nancy Lamb refused to focus on herself.
“It morphed over time and I just kept going and going,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of time on it. But it was never about me.”
Self promotion is not easy for most people, but it’s part of the game when your livelihood depends on connecting with art patrons, dealers and buyers. That’s why it’s been so rewarding for Lamb to advocate for the work of so many talented artists.
Each artist has been numbered day by day, one after another, beginning with Artist Day 1. She began by featuring Fort Worth artist Jim Woodson in what turned into a yearlong series. But it all ends Saturday with Artist Day 365, when Lamb will bring the entire adventure to a close.
With much speculation around how she’ll end it, I can tell you that no, it’s not going to be Nancy Lamb herself. But in a full circle moment Artist Day 365 studied under Jim Woodson for a time — just like Lamb. I am sworn to secrecy, so you’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out who it will be.
“Jim Woodson was my painting professor at TCU for about a minute,” Lamb laughs. “I didn’t often make it to class.”
Having described each artist in their brief introduction, and having displayed a collection of their works each day, Lamb notes, “I’ve gone through a year’s worth of adjectives.” She’s not sure yet how she’ll describe the final artist. She says she won’t know until the moment she sits down to compose the last post.
Many have suggested that she make the whole thing into a book. Lamb is exploring that possibility, along with her dear friend Doug Blagg, who is himself and artist. “It might eventually morph into something else,” she tells PaperCity.
The past year has been a doozy, as we all pause to recall the coronavirus shutdowns and the largely empty cities many experienced this time a year ago.
“It seems we needed a distraction, something other than the news,” Lamb says. As it turns out, art has been the ideal way to soothe some the ache, and help heal the disconnection and isolation that the pandemic unleashed.
I give you the electric, engaging, visionary and endlessly uplifting Nancy Lamb, whose artist series will be missed.