THE ART OF LOVING, LIVING AND LEAVING
The art of loving, living and leaving poignantly vibrates in the new collection of art gathered for artCentral’s Annual Membership Exhibition generously underwritten by McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation. Celebrity jurors, Andy Thomas and Elizabeth Simmons, have selected the recipients for the cash awards given for excellence.
All the artworks in this exhibition are heartfelt expressions created by artCentral member artists—artists who are practicing and mastering the art of loving, living and leaving.
Artists love. They make art for love—their love of art and their love of creating.
Artists live. They live to find and claim and cherish the precious moments and hours and days they need to listen to their souls and allow inspiration to flow in and inform their art-making.
Artists leave. While they’re here and after they pass over, with each of their creations artists leave our world better, more truthful and more beautiful for all of us.
Karen Brust, artCentral member artist and recipient of the 2016 Membership Exhibition Underwriter Award, left our company to pass over in early May. She was an exceptional artist in her loving and her living and her leave-taking. The beauty and inspiration of her colorful paintings linger still on our walls and in our hearts.
Soon after Karen’s departure, my younger brother and only sibling, Dr. David Stanford Baker, II, passed from us on the 14th of May in Charlotte, North Carolina. David, too, was an artist—a sculptor who chose to spend his professional life as a micro-surgeon working to rebuild hands with the skills of a dedicated, compassionate and well-trained artist.
Like many an artist, David early realized his life’s calling. As one childhood friend posted on facebook: “Even at Jefferson Elementary [Little Rock, Arkansas] he set the example for how we ought to behave. Once a boy seriously lacerated his head on a swing set during recess. David immediately took off his shirt and wrapped our playmate’s head to stop the bleeding, while the rest of us did nothing useful or ran for the teachers.” My little brother, while still that very small boy, stood before our church congregation and declared his intention to be a medical missionary.
Hearing the news of David’s death, one of his lifelong friends wrote to me, "I will never in my lifetime know a finer boy or man than your sweet brother always was—he was simply the best of the best." As the minister declared at David’s celebration of life, he’s “actually been living life eternal for quite a long time.”
David devoted himself to family and community life. He was at his best as a loving husband and father. He led scout trips and family adventures to share his love of nature and the renewal that comes with time outside. He helped with homework and art projects and read bedtime stories, enthusiastic and ready to model the discipline needed to achieve excellence. He trained his golden retrievers with a gentle hand and was rewarded with their faithful companionship. At Myers Park United Methodist in Charlotte, his church home for forty years, David found comfort and insight and the opportunity to serve in myriad ways including on medical missions to third world countries.
After retiring in 2014, David pursued his lifelong commitment to social justice, practicing his Eagle Scout's habit of looking for how he could leave a place better than he found it. He participated in Dismantling Racism seminars and volunteered to benefit children as a Guardian ad Litem and reading buddy. He carried his well-organized tool kit to build homes, communities and hope with Habitat for Humanity.
My brother David showed up for family and friends with strong arms and perpetual optimism. His support for the people he loved never wavered. He was exceedingly happy for my husband David’s and my finding each other in love and art and our celebrating our first anniversary of wedded bliss. He was proud of my work as Executive Director-Curator of artCentral, and yet he brashly chided me to make more time for the creation of my own art.
In the last months of his life, David and I wrote emails back and forth under the subject line: ART MENDS. He asked for prints of my art he found particularly inspiring. I sent them. To know my art surrounded him with his last breaths is a blessing.
In his too brief lifetime among us, my brother David set the curve for every artist who aspires to leave a creative life well-lived. Dr. David Stanford Baker II mastered the art of loving, living and leaving. Àshe!