Foundational, Beloved Artist of the Valley Illuminated at The Heyde Center
Beryl Ouimette’s artwork is showcased, and for sale, for the first time since her passing
The artist first to be honored after the Heyde Center for the Arts installed professional lighting in its gallery spaces is Beryl Ouimette: a founding member of the Heyde Center, teacher of the arts, mother of five, and community member who was adamant about giving.
When the Heyde Center stood filled with rubbish, graffiti, and smashed glass, a dedicated group of artists, through fundraising events and countless cleanups, built a foundational part of the Valley where all celebrate arts. “It cannot be overstated the monumental effort it was to bring this building up from, almost, the grave,” Beryl Ouimette Jr., Beryl Ouimette’s daughter, emphasized.
An important helping hand was Beryl Ouimette. “Her work included marketing, fundraising, coordinating the annual spring art shows, helping with concerts and other shows to raise awareness about the building and to alert the community that the arts are a living, breathing component of the community. That it’s not just an afterthought,” Ouimette Jr. said. But it was not only Beryl’s history with the Center that garners her an honorary show, today.
Beryl was incredibly involved with the community. She volunteered with multiple organizations, followed her art career later in life, and created a schoolhouse-style environment where she taught students ranging from children to retired folks, encouraging a creative space for all. “Someone could be working on ceramics next to someone painting on a canvas,” Ouimette Jr. stated. “Growing up, you have no idea how incredibly special and unique that is.”
With the new gallery lighting installed in the Center, all are welcome to get a glimpse into Beryl’s landscapes, portraits, and other works. While the paintings hung are primarily oils, what is not shown is her watercolor, sculptures, ceramics, mixed media, illustrations, crafts, silversmithing, and folk art - to name a few mediums of hers. “Without the new lighting, it’s a lost experience,” Ouimette Jr. said. “I’ve spotted new details in these paintings I’ve been looking at my whole life.”
Her works will be for sale for the first time since her passing in 2011. “Going through her work that has been hiding in the closet in chronological order, I relived an extraordinary loss of mom,” Ouimette Jr. said. “She was so talented and clever. She was an amazing person, and larger than life.”
Visit The Heyde Center for the Arts to support the honoring of Beryl Ouimett’s life, paintings, and contributions to the community. Learn more about the show and her life at cvca.net.