Early on March 1, 2016, Gallery Calapooia and the world lost a bright star in our galaxy, Lynn Louise Kunz Powers.
Lynn was a founding member of Gallery Calapooia, attending meetings in 2013 to discuss the possibility of forming an artists’ co-op in downtown Albany. She contributed to the strategies of forming the co-operative and the standards the gallery should provide the artists and residents of the Mid-Willamette Valley.
The early meetings could be frustrating and sometimes decibels increased when someone wanted to stress a point they thought was very important. Lynn brought her new puppy, Chester, to some of the meetings. Chester was a calming force in our discussions. When he fell asleep at her feet, we all knew to keep our voices low so he wouldn’t wake up and start barking. Sometimes it even worked!
Lynn’s experience in other galleries, competitions, and professional work as a graphic designer was valuable in shaping the gallery’s physical appearance. Having selected our location in the Historic Flynn Block on First Avenue in downtown Albany, Lynn showed us how to display artwork so visitors could see it to its best advantage. Lighting, organization of the work on the panel, on an easel, in a cabinet or in a window were things she could share with those of us who’d never had an opportunity to present our work in such a venue. She brought an artist’s eye and a professional’s perspective to the decisions we made.
Lynn took on the task of creating a distinctive logo for Gallery Calapooia. She wanted to make it easy to recognize but also have a sense of style that reflected the members’ artistic passions. She also “instructed” us on the need to select a font for the artists’ nametags on the panels, that they would be easily seen and read but not clutter the panel and distract from the artwork itself. “Sans serif” became the mantra for any font used in gallery signage, postcards, or posters.
Lynn threw herself into the gallery’s monthly receptions, providing iced mint and lemon water for those visitors who chose not to imbibe in wine or beer. She wanted people to feel comfortable bringing their children to the events. The water served as a fine complement to the sweets found on the tables.
Monthly meetings often ran long and sometimes challenged our patience when we wanted to go home. Lynn often took on the role of the “voice of reason” in many discussions, bringing her calm rationale and humor to any situation, making us smile, ending meetings on a high note.
Lynn’s vibrancy and love of life was reflected in her paintings. Her portraits are not only an accurate and flattering rendition of her subjects, but also show their personalities in a way few artists are able to achieve. Last year, Lynn decided she needed to dedicate herself to discovering the direction she wanted her new work to go. Many artists never achieve that goal but Lynn was able to see her new path shortly thereafter. Colorful, large-scale florals began to grace the gallery, bringing energy to the space and inspiring her fellow artists to levels of creativity in their own work they did not know were possible.
We will miss having Lynn’s paintings and prints in the gallery; however, her work will be on display until the end of June 2016. Gallery Calapooia will feature a small retrospective of her work during the month of June, coinciding with a larger retrospective at Albany City Hall. The monthly gallery reception on Friday, June 4th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., will be a celebration of Lynn’s life and her part in the gallery. In addition, there will be a reception for family, friends, and colleagues on Saturday, June 18th. This reception will start at 5:00 p.m. at Albany City Hall then move to Gallery Calapooia from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A trolley will be available to transport guests from City Hall to the gallery.
Currently, original paintings are not for sale. Anyone interested in purchasing a print of Lynn’s work can sign up on lists that will be available at Gallery Calapooia and Albany City Hall. Prices for the prints will depend on how the size and the number of requests per print.
We will miss Lynn’s quick smile, her joyful laugh, and her sense of humor. Her energy will continue to invigorate the atmosphere of Gallery Calapooia and inspire our members to continue to learn and grow their art.
– Linda Herd