Nancy B. Hamon may have died Saturday at the age of 92, but her philanthropy and unwavering commitment to the Dallas arts scene and community will live well on. A benefactor of most things artistic and educational, Hamon leaves behind a legacy that extends far beyond financial contributions to the Dallas Museum of Art, SMU Meadows School, Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Winspear Opera House, UT Southwestern, Dallas Zoo (the Jake Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center), Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas Opera, Dallas Historical Society and many others.
She served on numerous boards of trustees, but Hamon also played the ever-important role of audience member, attendee and applauding supporter.
A former professional dancer, Hamon understood the life of an artist and the importance of the creative outlet. This knowledge, evident in her personal grace, style and enthusiasm for performing and visual arts, could quite possibly be her biggest gift to Dallas' local art community. Her philanthropy and beneficence, building and improving the city's cultural destinations, was certainly outstanding, but as each contribution was not just financial, but also that of a fellow artist, Hamon helped to facilitate a special sort of community spirit.
Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Museum of Art issued a statement on Hamon's passing which praised the much-loved long-time DMA member, member of the DMA board of directors and aforementioned benefactor, and included several comments from DMA friends and colleagues. Among them:
From Deedie Potter Rose, chair of the Dallas Museum of Art board of trustees:
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"Nancy was a spirited civic leader whose incomparable benefaction will be admired for generations to come. Her deeply held belief in the value of the arts is her remarkable legacy, for it led her to a lifetime of enthusiastic support of visual and performing artists and for the work they created to enhance the lives of others."
From Harry S. Parker III, Dallas Museum of Art director 1974 to 1987, now a director emeritus:
"Nancy Hamon's generosity to the Museum was unflagging and always accompanied by her trademark wit and good humor. She believed in the endurance of art and sometimes unexpectedly supported friends and institutions through amazing acts of kindness and love."
For more kind words, Robert has tributes from AT&TPAC's Bess Enloe and SMU president Gerald Turner, as well as some Hamon-related journostalgia over on Unfair Park.