By now you surely know that in addition to my art, I also love working backstage behind the scenes in the theater. When people ask me about my varied art and theater careers and which I enjoy more I often explain that while I have been an artist for much longer than I have been working backstage in the theater, I am truly passionate about the theater. Thankfully my art has allowed me the opportunity and flexibility to be able to pursue my theater work.

However, during this contest I discovered something. As I drove home from a dinner out with friends on July 3rd, the final night of the Final Round (and yes, of course I promoted the contest while I was out at dinner… it was the only way I would allow myself to go out in the first place), I passed some neighbors shooting off fireworks in my neighborhood. I love watching fireworks, so I turned my car around, parked, walked down the street and in the black of the night went up to neighbors I had never met, introduced myself, told them about the contest and asked for their vote.

The mother with her children all huddled under an umbrella to shield the falling fireworks embers graciously welcomed me to their fireworks viewing party and said how much she admired my passion, my dedication to my business and my willingness to come up to complete strangers at 10 o’clock at night to promote my art. It was then that I realized how much this contest has brought out my passion for my art. I know deep down it was always there, just not shining in the spotlight as it is today.

To my fireworks neighbors, thank you!