Former first lady Betty Ford to receive painting of lily by local gallery owner |

Former first lady Betty Ford to receive painting of lily by local gallery owner

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail has commissioned Cynthia Thomas, artist and co-owner of Local Hang-Ups Gallery and Framing, to paint a lily.

Ford will receive the watercolor painting of the cardinal red lily named for the former first lady, which Thomas is also framing, from 6-7 p.m. Sunday at a ceremony at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Florida hybridizer David Kirchhoff specially cultivated the lily in Thomas’ painting to be hardy enough to grow at high elevations and survive Vail winters.

The reception and dinner will honor Ford’s humanitarian work for handicapped children, the arts, early detection of breast cancer, arthritis and AIDS. Former first lady Barbara Bush is the honorary chairwoman of the event. In 1999, President Ford and his wife earned the Congressional Gold Medal for dedicated public service and outstanding humanitarian contributions.

“I was truly honored to be given this opportunity to pay tribute to such a wonderful, caring lady,” Thomas said. “In a time when it seems like so much deference is given to movie stars and other famous individuals for simply using their God-given talent, it is refreshing to honor someone who truly cares for, and does so much for others.”

Prints and cards of the watercolor painting will be available at Local Hang-Ups and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens gift store. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the gardens. For information about attending the event, call (970) 476-0103, ext. 4.

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