SAM’s hallways recently echoed with joyous shrieks and laughter. Although perhaps a common occurrence, the aura of joy and excitement was not from a new art piece or an exhibition opening or even a Soundsuit…
It was a marriage proposal! A young man named Storm Bennett proposed to his long-term girlfriend Stephanie in the hall of the Seattle Art Museum in a most creative way… SAM staffers were alerted of a marriage proposal at the museum and encouraged to gather around a painting on a pedestal, made by Storm, as if attending the unveiling of a new piece.
A mother of Storm’s friend (and a complete stranger to Stephanie) acted as a museum curator. As the couple arrived she began her small lecture on the piece she was about to unveil. The velvet came off… And:
Congratulations to the newly engaged Storm and Stephanie! After the proposal, I managed to interview Storm briefly.
1. How did you and Stephanie originally meet? We originally met working at Kohl’s in Flagstaff, AZ. My mom wanted me to get a job there so I could get a discount on clothes, personally I had no interest, but hey, it benefited me in the long run right? I was part of the night shift crew changing prices and signs along with the rest of the team, which happened to include Stephanie. I had caught a glimpse of her earlier on my first day, a picture I’ll never forget. She was laughing with some of her co-workers, and because of the way she looked, I thought for sure she was out of my league. I was still in high school then, and very shy, and especially nervous and clumsy around pretty girls. So there I was, by myself in the Junior’s section with my shallow box full of signs, all in alphabetical order, sitting atop a cart so it’d be easier to push around the clothes racks. Then she starts walking towards me. I freak out and try to subtly turn my cart around and head the other way. And of course, as the prettiest girl I have ever seen in my life walks towards me, my box full of about 200 signs catches on one of the shirts. It topples off the cart, onto the floor, spilling everywhere. She comes over to help me pick up all my signs and introduce herself-“Oh don’t worry, it happens to everyone on their first day.” Her voice was the sweetest I had ever heard, and how did I respond? By not looking at her at all for fear she might look directly at me, and quietly mumbling a “thanks.” Which apparently I had learned later on, she had not heard at all. So that was her first impression of me, and my first impression of her. Haha, I guess I made up for it later on, ‘cuz here we are, finally engaged.
2. How long have you been together? Stephanie and I have been together about 5 years now, which is pretty good for being 23. I met her when she was in college and I was in high school. I’d never risked going after her, partly because I was so shy around her, and partly because she had a boyfriend at the time (Ugh, don’t they all?). After high school, I ended up attending the same school, Northern Arizona University. We’ve made it past her graduation, all through the rough and confusing early 20’s stage, and up through our move to Seattle. It’s absolutely been the best and most fulfilling time of my life.
3. Why did you choose the Seattle Art Museum for a proposal site? I’ll be honest: I’ve been wanting to propose to Stephanie since the first year. And since then, all of our birthdays, valentines, and Christmas gifts have been escalating in creativeness and elaborateness. So for the proposal, I knew I had to go all out. I wanted something grand enough, something good enough for the person that was going to bring me a lifetime of happiness, I wanted to give her a story she could brag about and feel special for. Art has always been one of the most important things in her life, and I knew that was the way to go. Her dream career is to be an archivist at an art museum, she graduated with an arts history degree and it’s definitely a big part of our lives. The Seattle Art Museum was my absolute first choice to do this, and I was very much in doubt (as well as others) that I could perform it there; I was so excited and relieved to hear that I was going to be able to do exactly what I wanted. It was grand enough for this once in a lifetime occasion, in the heart of Seattle where our lives have thrived, and not to mention SAM just so happens to be Stephanie’s initials as well.
4. Is there are story behind the painting you made for Stephanie? The story behind the painting is actually a pretty cool one. As I mentioned in the last question, our gifts to each other, especially our Valentine’s cards can get pretty elaborate in the making. The second Valentine’s Day we spent together she gave me the coolest card I’ve ever gotten. She had not only taken a comic cover picture by my favorite comic book artist, Humberto Ramos, and converted it into the likeness of us, but had made it into a 3-part comic story that opened up to the picture in the center of the card. It was VERY cool, and VERY detailed. I’ve always been proud of it and love showing it off. So I decided I wanted to make comic like panel painting of us (I’m a VERY big comic reader), and definitely wanted to re-use the picture she had done of us. That way it would have a little bit of me and my interests used in the proposal too. So, I grabbed a big ol’ canvas and spent about 4 weeks, on my lunch breaks, in the basement at my workplace penciling, then inking and finally painting what I had ‘unveiled’.
5. What are your plans/hopes for your future together? My plan for our future is to have the coolest wedding on the face of the planet. Haha, I have some pretty big expectations of it, and now, I’m having a blast looking through wedding magazines and books with my new fiancée! We have lots of ideas, and lots to make. We’re not sure of anything yet, we’re just having fun thinking and talking and planning stuff out, but we’re thinking of next fall (Plenty of time before the Zombie Apocalypse). All I’m hoping for our future together is to keep changing for the better, to keep our priorities straight and to do things that make us happy. After that, assuming we make it past 2012, we plan on being surprised by life, seeing where it takes us, the only thing assured and definite- that we’ll be together. And of course, live happily ever after. Oh, and according to her, having a puppy dog.
I hope Storm and Stephanie have a lot of fun (and not so much stress) while planning their wedding and that they have a lovely life together. Congratulations!
-Madeleine Dahl, PR Intern
Photos: Madeleine Dahl