CHEYENNE – For 11-year-old Odessa Brumage, the Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne is a support system for realizing dreams and making them come true.
By giving kids a space to practice painting or drawing, learn new languages and create their own volunteer opportunities, the Boys and Girls Club helps kids recognize their full potential. Brumage said it also helps kids discover what their dreams and aspirations truly are.
On Friday, a new statue called “Dare to Dream Big” was unveiled in front of the Boys and Girls Club in south Cheyenne to remind the kids of what they can accomplish if they believe in themselves. The bronze art piece by Wyoming artist Chris Navarro depicts a house cat sitting on a book titled “The Power of Belief,” staring at a reflection of a lion in the mirror.
“What this statue says to me is I can be everything I want to be in life,” Brumage said.
And while the goal of the statue is to remind kids of all the things they can accomplish, the statue’s unveiling itself was a dream come true for a number of folks who worked on the project. The art piece’s donors, Tom and Dixie Roberts, said seeing this project come to fruition brought tears to their eyes.
After learning more about the extensive opportunities offered by the Boys and Girls Club, the Robertses were moved. They reached out to see how they could help, and through conversations with Rolinda Sample, the club’s chief professional officer, they learned of the need for a piece of public art in south Cheyenne.
Once they saw “Dare to Dream Big,” which also sits in front of the Boys and Girls Club of Casper, Dixie said, “We decided that this piece was the perfect piece.”
Securing a piece of public art has been a goal of Sample’s since the Boys and Girls Club cut the ribbon on its new building five years ago.
When traction picked up on the project and the Robertses came onboard, Sample said, “My dream of public art for our members and south Cheyenne was coming true.”
Sample, along with youth members of the Boys and Girls Club, gave their testimonies for why art is important during the unveiling ceremony. Sample said art is a great form of expression and inspiration, and the club’s Youth of the Year, Riley-Jayne Anderson, said art encourages people to be more in touch with the world around them.
“Art brings people together from different backgrounds. It also helps us learn new things about the world around us, and helps us view and interpret things better,” Anderson said.
At the unveiling, about 50 kids from the Boys and Girls Club sat on bleachers, wearing masks, patiently waiting for the covers to come off the new sculpture. The excitement could be heard in the dozens of little voices as they started counting down from 10.
Along with the new sculpture came a big chalkboard where kids can write down their dreams. After the sculpture was unveiled, the kids rushed to grab chalk so they could share their biggest aspirations: “I want to be an architect,” “I want to be a teacher,” and “I want to change the world!”
According to artist Navarro, “Writing your dreams and goals down is a huge thing to make them come true.”
Standing as a testament to what can be accomplished with big dreams, Navarro told the kids about his own career trajectory, which started in a Wyoming oilfield. He said he was just going to work to make a paycheck, but knew he wanted to do something he was passionate about.
While his favorite class growing up was art, he never considered that a viable career option until his 20s. Navarro hit the art supply shop before checking out all the books about making sculptures from the library, and his dream took off from there. Now, he’s been a successful full-time artist for more than 30 years.
“I had a dream; I had a belief, and that’s all you need,” Navarro told the kids.