The Cryptozoologist of the Year 2015, to which the first Golden Yeti is to be awarded in a new commemoration involving this physical award, is Jeremy Efroymson. Jeremy is bestowed this honor for his quiet but steady support of serious cryptozoological pursuits. Jeremy and the Efroymson Family Foundation have awarded grants and funds since, at least, 2012, to such grantees as the Virtual Footprints Archive at Idaho State University, the Ohio Bigfoot Conference, and the International Cryptozoology Museum.
Jeremy Efroymson’s background in art, directorship, and law gives him deep insights into nonprofit management and support. His interest in hominology and cryptozoology carries on a custom of support evidenced by such involved personalities like Tom Slick, Tom Page, and Jack Grimm. All of these granting individuals deserve to be recognized for their contributions to the cryptozoological legacy they supported, and we feel that Jeremy Efroymson is respectfully and solidly carrying on that tradition.
Jeremy Efroymson with “Yeti,” winner of an Indianapolis art contest. Photo by Mark Lee.
In an 2010 edition of Indianapolis’s alternative newspaper, Nuvo, Dan Grossman captured the nature of the then-executive director of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art Jeremy Efroymson:
It’s 5:45 p.m. on a hot Friday evening in August and Jeremy Efroymson is touring the Re-Dome art exhibit at the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) headquarters in Fountain Square. After having looked at a number of pieces, a seven-foot-high sculpture named “Yeti” by Keith Hampton catches his eye. Like the other entries, this sculpture of a Himalayan humanoid incorporates salvaged roofing material from the demolished RCA dome. But it does so in a unique way; the sculpture’s “fur” is composed of thousands of strips of this fiberglass material. Efroymson, one of the judges of this juried show, likes this sculpture more than anything else that he’s seen so far.
Ten minutes later, he’s seated in the conference room with his fellow judges — philanthropist Frank Basile and Big Car Collective founder Jim Walker among them — and they start discussing the merits of each entry. KIB President David Forsell stands at the blackboard with a marker in hand, crossing off the works that haven’t excited the jurors. One entry, a piece of dome material simply used as a painter’s canvas, immediately falls by the wayside.
But the discussion quickly turns in the other direction. With a little nudge from Efroymson, “Yeti” rises to the top of the list of the Professional Art Category. Efroymson likes it, he says, because of its “ambitious scale and use of the dome material as a structural element.” The judges seem to agree on this choice; Efroymson sees little point in debating it further; he says so, and this apparently prods the jury into wrapping up the decision-making sooner than they would have otherwise.
Jeremy Efroymson has passion for many subjects, and we, in the cryptozoology, are privileged that one of his interests is our field.
Here is a little biographical background on the man.
After getting a degree in film and video at the University of Michigan, he proceeded to earn a J.D. from I.U. Bloomington and an M.B.A. from Butler. He also has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia College in Chicago. “When I was 33 I finally stopped going to school.” And then he adds, jokingly,”Now I’m going back for my Ph.D.”
Boards Efroymson serves on:
Big Car; Earth House; The Advisory Board at Herron; The Advisory Board for the School of Tourism, Convention, and Event Management (TCEM) at IUPUI; iMOCA; The Namaste Center in LaPorte, Indiana (an alternative healing center); The Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan; International Cryptozoology Museum.
Besides the cryptozoology grantees already noted, other organizations and events Efroymson supports through the Efroymson Family Fund include:
African University, Big Car Gallery, Building Tomorrow, Butler MBA Program, Cultural Tourism Conference and Award, Earth House, Global Peace Initiatives, Harrison Center for the Arts, Herron School of Art, Indianapolis Art Center, IUPUI TCEM Department, Journey’s Fire, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Namaste Center, Primary Colours, Spirit & Place, Writers’ Center of Indiana, and other Indiana-based charities.
A special painting by Andy Finkle was also given to Jeremy Efroymson at the International Cryptozoology Conference, January 4, 2016, during the Cryptozoologist of the Year award ceremony.
Cryptozoologist of 2014: Bill Munns
Bill Munns, a Hollywood makeup and special effects artist, gave a 2014 presentation in Yakima, “When Roger Met Patty,” and wrote a 2014 book, When Roger Met Patty, that were the culmination of his seven years of research on the Patterson-Gimlin film.
Cryptozoologist of 2013: Bryan Sykes
The Oxford University geneticist is to be congratulated for his project attempting to confirm or deny any DNA basis for new species from Almas, Bigfoot, and Yeti samples.
Cryptozoologist of 2012: Cliff Barackman
Barackman’s grounded role model membership of the cast of Finding Bigfoot made him an easy pick for 2012. Photo courtesty: Animal Planet.
Cryptozoologist of 2011: Mark Murphy
National Archives researcher Mark Murphy discovered papers detailing for the first time the United States government’s attention to the search for Yetis roaming the mountains of Nepal in the 1950s. Photo: Loren Coleman.
Cryptozoologist of 2010: Ngwe Lwin
Ngwe Lwin asking local people for information about a little-known new primate species, the new Mae Hka snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri), seen below, which he discovered. Photo: FFI.
Cryptozoologist of 2009: Gabriele Gentile
Italian researcher Gabriele Gentile holds a Galápagos iguana, a newly-verified pink and black species he discovered in January 2009. Photo: Gabriele Gentile
Cryptozoologist of 2008: Andrea Marshall
In 2008, after over five years of on-site work and confirming lab findings, doctorate candidate Andrea Marshall identified the giant manta ray as a distinctive new species, separate from the reef manta ray. She may have also found evidence of a future new, third species of manta.
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