On the July 1, three Winslow artists will debut unto the opulent settings of high-class arts and culture at the grand opening from a six-year remodel of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Tina Mion, Winslow painter and matriarch of the La Posada Hotel, was chosen to exhibit separate works of hers in two separate shows for the Smithsonian. The first of her paintings to be displayed ‹ Glory ‹ features two life-long Winslow residents, Mary Alice Hayes and her sister Brenda Hayes, both gospel singers from Winslow, who are captured by Mion's emotional strokes of oil-paint that illuminates their soul since you cannot hear their voices in the painting.
Over 4,000 artists from around the country were allowed to submit only one piece for the National Portrait Gallery Inaugural Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Mion chose Glory, and the Smithsonian chose it as well as one of 51 separate works by separate artists to be exhibited for the event. Mion was the only artist in Arizona to be selected for this show.
At the inaugural on July 1, Mion will be accompanied by the Hayes sisters to attend this gala affair, where the sisters have been invited to sing.
"I talked to the Smithsonian and they extended an invitation to the two ladies, and they will now get to sing when they get there," Mion said.
Nobody is yet sure of what they will sing when the get there.
"We wanted to sing Amazing Grace because that is our favorite, but I think they will want us to sing God Bless America," Mary Alice said.
Mary Alice and Brenda briefly sang many different songs to each other, ranging from "All the World Needs Now is Love," and "If You're Happy and You Know It," but the Smithsonian will get to choose.
Mary Alice said that their father was a gospel singer who used to play with BB King before he diverged from gospel to become the music legend people know of today. Mary Alice and Brenda have kept in practice by singing for the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Winslow.
The sisters said this performance would not be the biggest thing they have ever done, though it will be up there. They once performed as back-up singers for Diana Ross during the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show in Phoenix.
With the Hayes' representation in the painting on display at the gallery for six months, Winslow will be placed amongst great American icon paintings of the likes of Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and also great American athletes and American Presidents.
This gallery is considered to have the largest and most important collection of American portraits in the world.
"I wanted to put in this painted of the ladies because they work real hard in their singing and do so much for the community," Mion said. "It will be great to see their portrait sharing the halls of famous people and presidents. This is a wonderful way of honoring them and to recognize their all of their contributions."
The Hayes sisters will be performing again at this year's Fourth of July in Winslow that is expected to be a grand spectacle as Winslow prides itself on the extent of it's show.