County gets $1M art gift

Donation creates new visual arts program
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A $1 million donation will help support an arts program aimed to serve Placer County artists, art educators, students and more. The Susan Cooley-Gilliom Artist Residence and Teaching (ART) Program has been established in memory of the local artist and environmental advocate. Sue D. Cooley, Susan’s mother, and the Sky View Foundation, established the program with a donation of $1 million to the Placer Community Foundation. “The ART Program is a unique and special way that we can honor and remember Susan, while providing permanent support of art education for the region and fellow artists that she cherished,” Cooley said. Beginning June 2011, the ART Program will provide bi-annual artist residencies to established and renowned artists working throughout the West Coast. Through a comprehensive selection process, they will be chosen based upon their proven ability to create and instruct others in their craft. In addition to the residencies, visiting artists will provide public workshops and lectures hosted through PlacerArts in the spring and Roseville Arts’ Blue Line Gallery in the fall. Susan Cooley-Gilliom’s artistic talents, well-known to art lovers and fellow artists in the Placer region, developed through a family legacy rich in weaving and painting. A fine arts painter known for her award-winning pastels and watercolors, especially foothill and Sierra landscapes, Susan always combined her art with her love for the natural environment and her concern for its protection, according to Jessica Hubbard, philanthropic services manager for the Placer Community Foundation. Among her many projects, she founded Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust, with the vision to preserve open-space and natural habitat within the scenic greenway corridor from the foothills to Lake Tahoe. As a member of the Placer Arts League, she led restoration of the gallery at the Bernhard Museum in Auburn. And, as an active opponent of Auburn dam, she contributed canyon landscapes to raise funds for Protect American River Canyons. “This gift honors Susan by merging her love of art and the inspiration she derived though our region’s landscapes,” said Veronica Blake, CEO for Placer Community Foundation. “We are so pleased to have been chosen to carry out her legacy in such a meaningful, lasting way.”