Dana Depew: I grew up on a farm in Medina, Ohio during the 1980’s. In essence, I grew up with Wilma Smith. Since 1977, when I was only five years old, Wilma has provided northeast Ohio with the daily news. That is quite an accomplishment with so many anchors that have come and gone in that time but Wilma has been a constant and has remained.
The work that I do is highly reliant upon concept, making fleeting ideas come to fruition, and the nostalgia of childhood memories. I think Dick Goddard gets a lot of well-deserved credit for his longevity in his field but I personally feel Wilma Smith has also held her own as an anchor for thirty plus years in the same market and she does not nearly get the same credit. This lead to the idea of creating an exhibition based on Wilma Smith and creating a body of work that would pay homage to her continued service to our community.
Wilma’s daily attire served as great subject matter to several works that will be exhibited. She states she is aware that people watch every day to see what necklace she has on, and she has fun trying to find new ones. “It’s an easy way to change an outfit. Clothes are so expensive and you usually only see from the waist up anyway. It could be the same blouse or the same suit, but the necklace is different.” I felt that I could create works loosely based on her daily accessories.
Among the many awards and citations Smith has achieved, Smith is the recipient of 10 local Emmy Awards for excellence in her television work. She was voted “Cleveland’s Most Watchable Woman” by local viewers and “Best Anchorperson in Cleveland” in a poll of more than one million voters.
Additionally, has also been voted “Anchor of Excellence” by the National Association of Career Women, “Newscaster of the Year,” a “Cleveland Pacesetter” and “Best Anchorperson” by Cleveland Magazine, and she is a member of the Ohio Television/Radio Hall of Fame. Wilma appeared on the cover of Cleveland Magazine five times.
As well I have several conceptual projects pertaining to the exhibit to honor Wilma Smith that I am exploring. I would like to lobby Joe Cimperman and Frank Jackson in creating a declaration that would recognize Sept 8, 2012 as honorary “Wilma Smith Day”