Mary K. (Polly) Addison passed away peacefully January 11, 2021 and is remembered as a woman who offered so much to so many. Whether it was helping with fundraisers, the visual arts committee or serving as a board member, her dedication and unflagging energy was always there to support the Dairy Art Center’s growth—often providing extra support in greater times of need.
Polly curated what was likely the first exhibit of “new media art” between Chicago and the West Coast at the Dairy. Many of the artists she chose years ago now have successful national and international careers. In 2015 Polly was awarded Dairy Honors for her more than twenty-years of service, not only for the Dairy but for other arts and community organizations.
In remembrance, please enjoy images of Polly’s works and excerpted quotes from her last exhibition at the Dairy titled, The Unknown Polly Addison.
“My encounters with Polly Addison have always felt magical. They begin with her gorgeous smile—warm and welcoming—a testimony to the quality of her wonderful artwork.” – Jennifer Heath, Independent Curator and Writer
“I first became acquainted with Polly Addison when I brought my internship class to visit some of the Addison art collection at her home in Boulder. On one visit, Polly’s large pencil drawings from the Pearl Street Mall were displayed in their living room. Polly graciously talked about them to my class, who were very impressed with her skills and creativity.” – Sally Elliott, Visual Artist and Senior Instructor/CU Boulder (retired)
“I have known Polly Addison for 30-plus years. I first knew her from afar, not only as a humanitarian and lover of the arts, but as a dedicated artist. When she later enrolled in one of my painting classes, all my impressions were confirmed.” – Jerry Kunkel, CU Art Professor
A few months in to our board term, I found Polly outside the Dairy picking up cigarette butts and other trash. I asked Polly what she was doing. After all, the Dairy had paid staff who surely could help keep the place clean. Polly shared that ‘if board members failed to treat The Dairy as we would our own homes, how could we expect the rest of the community to support it?’ That was my first, but hardly the last, lesson about board responsibilities from Polly whose unwavering generosity and belief in the Dairy’s potential has made the Dairy possible. – Deborah Malden, Former Dairy Board Member/Friend
“In her steady, no-drama way, Polly was an organization’s dream volunteer—generous with her time and ideas, creative reliable and enthusiastic.” – Brenda Niemand, Former Dairy Board Member/Friend
“The Net Art show Polly curated at the Dairy in 2003 was well ahead of its time. Nowadays, artists working on and with the Internet are on the cover of mainstream art magazines, but back then, it was all new and few curators, whether in New York, Los Angeles or Colorado, were willing to take the risk and focus on artworks being created in an emerging genre. Many of those Boulder-based artists she curated at the Dairy have since gone on to become regional, national and international figures in their own rights.” – Mark Amerika, Artist/Friend