“McFadden-Legacy” Memorial Reception
9 years, 8 months ago Posted in: Blog, Past Events 2

“McFadden–Legacy” memorial reception at Liberty Arts Gallery honors late artist, Leon McFadden.

In the spring of 2012, Liberty Arts Gallery of Yreka, California started planning a solo fine art exhibition featuring the works of prolific painter, Leon McFadden. When McFadden passed away on September 20th at the age of 92, a month before the show date, the exhibition became a memorial honoring the “McFadden–Legacy.”

VIDEO: Leon’s friends and family came in from far and away to pay their respects, share their memories and enjoy his art at a memorial reception held Friday, October 26, 2012.

Kim Presley (in white), Executive Director of Liberty Arts makes her entrance with Flannery Clouse (in black), owner of Nature’s Kitchen in Yreka. Flannery was married to Leon for 10 years back in the 80’s and she wrote a comprehensive obituary summarizing his adventurous life.

Liberty Arts’ ever genial Bee Soulé (far right) presided over the busy wine bar, keeping the guests well tended.

The invitation stated, ‘Formal Attire Requested. Black Tie Optional.’ While many people actually balked at having to “dress up,” we were pleased that many others seized the opportunity to dress for the occasion.

Although a memorial, the reception still maintained a light, uplifting atmosphere full of convivial conversations among friends and community members.

At 6pm, the crowd gathered around for a brief memorial to honor the man whose life and art we were celebrating.

Abigail VanAlyn, a long-time friend of Leon’s, offered remembrance and shared some personal insights with the audience.

Friends and family members took the floor to share their own stories, memories and anecdotes.

In closing, Abigail read an apropos quote from Einstein that summarized Leon’s curious nature.

After the memorial, the celebration continues with a packed house. Meanwhile…

… across the street, the McFadden Salon was bustling with activity as well.

McFadden’s body of work is so extensive that, in order to showcase all of it, Liberty Arts rented the vacant storefront across the street offering works of art that didn’t make it into the gallery show. Lewis Meyers, Jr. (in hat) presided over the McFadden Salon, which will be accessible throughout the duration of the exhibit.

Even the youngsters were intrigued by Leon’s fresh and whimsical creations.

Visitors to the Salon experienced the thrill of discovery as they dug through the multiple stacks of work seeking the buried treasures they would end up taking home.

In addition to all the paintings, there were boxes and notebooks full of prints, sketches, drawings, figure studies and experimental stamp-work that gave deeper insight into McFadden’s process of discovery.

The outpouring of support, emotion and kind words from the friends, family members and community was amazing. Above, Lewis gets congratulated for his efforts.

After the reception, a dedicated group of people made their way across town to Leon’s former property, where they lit a ceremonial bonfire. Dubbed “The Last Big Burn,” the dancing flames raged high and wide, painting the night sky orange and burning into the wee morning hours.

Special thanks to friends, family, gallery members and our community for sharing this special event and honoring the late Leon McFadden.

Donations in Leon’s name can be made to Liberty Arts. Funds raised through this exhibit will help support art education and establish a lasting memorial scholarship for the visual arts in Leon’s name.

“McFadden–Legacy” and “McFadden Salon” run through Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

Liberty Arts Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

Photos and text by Nikolas Allen – Marketing Director, Liberty Arts
Bonfire photo by Kim Presley – Executive Director, Liberty Arts

2 Responses

  1. Rajiv Hotek says:

    Thank you…… was like being there…..and that we couldn’t this is wonderful. Rajiv and Marianne Hotek