When Pat Goodwin, director of the Myrtle Beach Art Museum, was helping plan the formal presentation of a painting to the museum, little did she know about the prestigious Medallion of Integrity presented to Goodwin on Sunday.
The plot was carried out exactly as planned. Chuck and Sandie Merriam of North Myrtle Beach presented a Jonathan Green painting, “River Baptism,” one of Green’s earlier works. Sandie Merriam talked about the painting, owned by the Merriams for seven years and the artist’s connection to museum programs. For a recent one, Green had again loaned a large painting, “Seeking,” and the Merriams loaned “River Baptism,” a smallish canvas.
After the Merriams’ presentation to the museum, Jim R. Rogers spoke about Goodwin’s leadership in growing the museum and its programs well beyond what one might in a community the size of Myrtle Beach. Then Merriam presented the Medallion of Integrity, “in recognition of your personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it.”
The recognition is from the Center for Courage & Renewal, founded 19 years ago by author-activist-educator Parker J. Palmer. Initially, the center sought to support and encourage educators and that has broadened to the fields of health care, ministry, business and community leaders. The Medallion of Integrity was established three years ago and has been presented internationally 25 times. Goodwin’s medallion is only the fourth in South Carolina. Facilitators who may present the medallion include Sandie Merriam, a retired special education teacher, and Sally Z. Hare, professor emerita, Coastal Carolina University.
Hare and Merriam said the presentation of the Green painting was an excuse to honor Goodwin’s contributions to the Myrtle Beach community, particularly “through programs that reach so many aspects of our community.” A recent program targeted third grade and middle school youngsters, with art by Green and Jim Arendt of Coastal Carolina University. The students were asked what they saw, Merriam said, and “I began to see the brilliance of how the exhibit had been designed to invite the voices of children in response.” One third grade boy said “he felt he was inside the artist, and feeling what he was feeling.”
The three recalled a note from their world-traveled friend from Portland, Ore., sent to Goodwin after visiting the Franklin G. Burroughs & Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum: “This is what an art museum is supposed to be.”
Goodwin is a native of Philadelphia and loved the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, where she was director for special events and community relations. She moved to Charleston and ran the Center for Women prior to becoming director of the young museum in Myrtle Beach in 2001. “One of her first acts was to [recommend that the board] make the museum [admission] free,” Rogers said. “Pat made it a community museum.”
The modest Goodwin would remind us that many others, including the city of Myrtle Beach in the several years of planning before the museum opened in June 1997, have helped make the art museum a cultural jewel. Many people have been surprised at the museum’s quality and enriched by its programs. Goodwin’s 15 years of outstanding leadership are rightly recognized in the in the Medallion of Integrity.