Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Yes, that's right, I received a holiday card from Bo, the First Dog...and he signed it himself!
I know the cover looks like a photo of Bo, but it's actually a painting and the artist is from our home state, Iowa. We are so proud!
First lady Michelle Obama chose a Des Moines, Iowa, artist's painting for this year's official White House Christmas card.
Larassa Kabel learned the good news shortly before her husband's band was chosen to open for Bruce Springsteen at President Barack Obama's election-eve campaign rally in Des Moines.
"Those are infinitesimal odds," she said. "I mean, really, that's crazy weird."
Both strokes of luck resulted from the small-world political connections Iowans know well. Kabel was invited to submit a painting in September, at the suggestion of Des Moines businesswoman Pamela Bass-Bookey, whose daughter Natalie works for the first lady. The White House invited artists nationwide to submit artwork based on two photos — one of the mansion itself, and one of the Obama family dog, Bo, sprinting across the snowy lawn.
"So which one do you think I did? Of course I chose the dog art," Kabel said. "My mom was so happy. She's always told me, 'Oh, Larassa, you should do pet portraits.' "
The artist is represented by Moberg Gallery, and most of her work is more serious, with her subjects often rendered in a dream-like blur.
But the imaginary scarf she painted around Bo's neck was a smart move. She can now add "White House Collection" to her resume. Her oil painting is currently on display there, and she and her husband, Chris Snethen, are invited to a party at the White House on Dec. 18.
Snethen's own brush with fame came after the name of his band, Bob Tyler and the Reckless Hearts, came up in a planning meeting for the Obama rally. The band plays each year during the Des Moines Marathon, on the lawn of a guy who turned out to be an Obama volunteer. One thing led to another until security dogs were sniffing the band's instruments for bombs and Snethen was shaking hands with one of his idols.
"Springsteen is one of the two or three best American artists. Period," he said. " 'Born to Run' is probably the best rock-n-roll song ever."
Snethen teaches English at Southeast Polk High School, where his students were duly impressed, especially with the recent invitation to the White House. He and Kabel had to keep the news about the Christmas card under wraps until just a few days ago.
"I don't know what to expect," he said. "I'll wear a suit and shake hands and smile and just sort of absorb it all, I guess."
Kabel wondered about the cards, which will be sent worldwide in the next week. "Will the Queen of England get a card? I mean, she is a dog lover."
Posted by Suddie at 12:54 PM