Evergreen’s newest angel takes flight

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By Sara Miller

Bells are ringing all over Evergreen! In the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a bell rang every time an angel earned it wings. At the Evergreen Fine Art Gallery, this year’s Evergreen Angel has gotten its wings, and you should hear bells ringing around the world.

Seventeen years ago, Virginia Haley, founder of the Evergreen Fine Art Gallery, crafted “Sarah,” her first sterling silver angel pendant. The Evergreen Angel program was created to commemorate Haley’s relationship with her own grandmother and to raise awareness and funds for the work of Mount Evans Hospice.

The angels quickly became a beloved treasure in Evergreen, and collector’s items that were purchased as gifts for loved ones the world over. Haley created a new angel every year, and the popularity of the meaningful pieces of art continued to grow.

“I was in Kansas City one time, and I had my angel necklace on. A woman came running up to me and said, ‘Is that the Evergreen Angel?’ Another lady was in New York and had the same thing happen to her,” says Barb Hadley, gallery co-owner.

This year’s angel was created by Paula Conley, gallery director and co-owner. Conley’s artistic background began when she taught art and craft lessons to the other children in her New York City apartment complex. Conley then moved with her family to Brussels, where her exposure to the work of the European masters began.

“Our 2008 angel is named ‘Hope,’ Conley says. “We wanted to create something that epitomized the gallery’s theme for this year. We can all use a little hope, and it’s nice to have a reminder that you can give to others as well.”

In creating the form for this year’s pendant, Conley drew inspiration from the Chapungu sculptures that were on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens from June through September 2008. These large stone sculptures are created by the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe, and many of the forms are abstract representations of mothers and children.

“The angel is holding a sphere that is meant to be the Earth. ‘Hope’ cradles the Earth, while her wings are surrounding and giving her protection. The wings also form the shape of a heart,” says Conley.

The pendant is cast in sterling silver and is just over 1 inch tall. The angel can be threaded directly onto a necklace chain or attached to a charm bracelet. “Hope” can also be purchased in a limited-edition silver with a London blue topaz as the Earth or in gold. The angel can also be purchased to dangle from a sterling silver brooch.

The gallery has matching chains and spacers shaped like hearts or stars. Many people who have been collecting the charms for years string multiple angels on a necklace and use these sterling silver spacers to accentuate the collection.

“We have customers who have all 17 angels. It’s fun to hear them clatter around as they walk with all of the angels strung on their necklace,” says Hadley.

Whether you purchase one angel or multiples, you’re sure to find a little “Hope” and possibly even hear the bells ringing as this special 2008 angel gets her wings.

To purchase the Evergreen Angel, stop at Evergreen Fine Art Gallery, call 303-679-3610, or visit www.evergreenangel.com.