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Missing Bernie

A while back, I traveled to University Village in Seattle for the dedication of Bernard Hosey’s sculpture, Companion. It was great to be together, remembering and celebrating Bernie, his life, art and the community of artists and supporters he fostered. I sure do miss him and I know our community does too. It feels spectacular to be inspired by someone who lived as if art was life. As Mary Oliver says, what will you do with this one precious life? Bernie gave his entire spirit to a worthy pursuit of form, beauty and creating greatness in those around him. He was exceptionally valuable to our community.

Bernie dedication The sun shone in Seattle for the dedication. Hosey's widow, Christiana Heinemann (in boots and glasses) talks with Brian McCoy, from the Tri-Cities, who helped install a Hosey sculpture in Kennewick.  Rita Pampanin moves through the right foreground, with Ray Johnston and Patrick McGann in the background.  

How easy it is to go back to work after such an event, being surrounded by people committed to art and each other, grateful to live and create in a culture that’s supportive of the arts.

Bernie dedication Pictured is Rita Pampanin’s sphere, Companion, built by Bernard Hosey and now in its new home at University Village in Seattle.

Rita Pampanin, who owns the sphere, is moving back to her family’s home in Occidental, California. I miss Rita’s influence on the arts and theater of Twisp. I loved the creative explosion of possibilities I was flooded with when around her. She is truly a supporter of the arts, not only monetarily, but with her life. 

At my studio at TwispWorks I am wrapped up in the artist/homesteader juggle for money, time and worthy ideas. Matt Armbrust, Kayla Darch and I have a show at the Confluence Gallery in September so I have been somewhat obsessed with having enough money to buy surfaces to paint on and time between sheetrock, graphic design, managing galleries, and sign painting to pursue the paintings in my head. The valley, with its hay harvest, cloud shows and fabulous sunrises and sunsets has been giving me ample inspiration. Meanwhile my artist companions at TwispWorks are communally building an identity and forming a community of artists committed to a nurturing environment in which to produce our best work. We are exploring the idea of an artist’s co-op or union to promote our mutual professional development, to advance our earning power and to reduce stress so we can make better art. 

Matt Armbrust has brought to TwispWorks a model of working productively and inclusively as an artist. This summer he opened his studio to anyone who wanted to experiment with clay. He insisted upon collaboration, interaction and contemplation necessary for creativity. It is an interesting idea; that you need to relax to do good work or be a healthy member of a community. Matt is going back to school soon to finish his master’s degree in ceramics. I look forward to his bundle of new great programs and projects when he returns next summer.

Bernie’s big boots are hard to fill but there is something familiar in the energy Matt brings to inspiring and encouraging us to live passionately, and to our fullest. Apparently it takes a village to drive a rocket ship to the moon.