Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Louise LeQuire, 1924 - 2006

How do you mourn someone you wanted to get to know better but still feel a tremendous loss for?

When the Nashville Artist Guild was informed on Monday that founding member Louise LeQuire had passed away on Sunday, I had to catch my breath. We knew her health was so very fragile lately, but I still hoped for her health to be restored ...

I had an inkling of her greatness as teacher, mentor, arts advocate and artist via the fellow Guild members who referred to her with huge respect. Who is this amazing woman I wondered? I wanted to know more.

I can probably count on one hand the times I spoke or emailed with her since I joined the Guild and began participating in January of 2005. In this handful of times I had the sense I was in the presence of a great lady, and that it would be good to learn from Louise about Nashville's Art History. I wanted to know what Louise thought and felt about these things. What fueled this love in her to work so hard to change it here.

She was a founding member of the Guild, and here, 55 years later she was still an active participant ... so that answered a little of the question. She is dedicated. Then on my visit to the Rau Exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum last November, I saw Ms. LeQuire had sponsored a painting in the tour ... and that answered another little question. She helped bring the art here.

Earlier this year the Guild collected bios to put into a booklet to be shared among members. Since we don't always make every single meeting, this way we could still get to know eachother and so be more fully prepared to work together in our aim to better fulfill the Nashville Artist Guild objectives.

Louise was the first member to send in her Bio when the call went out. Through the bio I really discovered this woman was a treasure amongst us. And the info in this bio was only the tip of the iceberg of what she'd done.

Artist, teacher, writer; also interested in writing and producing documentary films. She was a proactive educator. Through others in the Guild and the (August 1) Tennessean's short article on her passing, I'm only starting to get a clue of just what an active and direct impact she had in carving out the very Arts scene here in Nashville, helping it get a foothold and helping make it grow.
I'm sad and feel such a loss -- there was so much to learn from her. How do you mourn this...?

But I am yet hopeful. There is still so much to learn from the very example she set. I hope through it we as an Arts Community may be able to make her proud. May we then be able to continue to foster the Arts in Nashville with that same love she showed.

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