Saturday, November 15, 2014

Patroness Gets Opera Center Named After Her By Madison Opera

Helping the Arts: A photo of Margaret C.
Winston in the 1940s at Stanford University
"Finally, one of Madison's most generous 'anonymous friends' has a name. Dr. Margaret Winston, a ground-breaking radiologist, world traveler, astute financial manager and deeply passionate supporter of the arts, lived most of her 86 years in Madison. When she died on Sept. 12, she requested no obituary or memorial service. Born in Seattle and raised in the Twin Cities and the San Francisco Bay area, Winston never married or had children. Family members live on the West Coast. So it wasn't until Sunday, Nov. 2, when Madison Opera renamed its home at 335 W. Mifflin St. as the Margaret C. Winston Opera Center, that the myriad local nonprofits Winston supported began to come together. 'The depth and breadth of her giving we'll never know,' said Kathryn Smith, general director of Madison Opera. 'She was an anonymous donor to so many organizations...we don't know what they all are.'....'None of the people she made things accessible for knew who she was,' said Stephen Fleischman, director at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. 'She didn't care about the physical world, objects and trappings, about collecting things. Those weren't her interests. Her interests were art and intellect.'....A devoted opera lover, Winston gave directly to UW Opera and the School of Music's new Performance Center. In 2003, through the UW School of Music, Winston funded a fellowship for a graduate student in voice. Recipients have included James Kryshak, a tenor now singing with the Vienna State Opera, soprano Shannon Prickett, about to make her role debut in as Micaela in Carmen, and tenor J. Adam Shelton, a local arts educator who recently appeared in Madison Opera's Dead Man Walking. 'Margaret wanted to be anonymous,' said UW-Madison voice professor Mimmi Fullmer. 'But if I would ask her, 'Do you want students to come see you?' she'd say, 'That would be OK.' By all accounts, Winston was a deeply private person. She didn't like having her picture taken, and she was cautious about where she gave her money. According to Smith, Winston's gifts made possible the purchase of Madison Opera's current building. 'We said to her, wouldn't you like to name the building after you?' Smith said. 'And she said no, but she also said, 'What you do after I'm gone, I can't do anything about,' kind of with a wink. 'We took that to be permission, to finally have something that acknowledges who she was and how important she was.'....'Margaret was a person who was ahead of her time in so many ways,' Fleischman at MMoCA said. 'She was a person who loved crossing disciplines, before it was really viewed as the thing to do. She was not a person who was in it for name recognition, that was the furthest thing from her desires. She was in it for the beautiful civic and cultural reasons. She wanted to make sure what was important in her life, cultural opportunities, would be given to other people and in her community.'" [Source] Check out The Margaret C. Winston Madison Opera Center by clicking here.
Kathryn Smith, General Director of Madison Opera, sits in The Margaret C. Winston Opera Center

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