SIDNEY — Gateway Arts Council is honored to present “Drawn to Holding On…, A Tribute to Henry Goulet II” by artist Michelle Walker.
The exhibit will be featured in the Gateway’s Gallery from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30. There will be an opening reception on Nov. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gateway Arts Council offices at 216 N. Miami Ave. Gallery hours are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Evening and weekend hours are by appointment. Admission is free to the reception and the exhibit.
The exhibit is composed of a series of portraits documenting Walker’s father, Henry, and his journey through Alzheimer’s.
“Gateway Arts Council is privileged to be able to present this touching exhibit. Michelle’s meaningful drawings capture the gradual changes, both physically and emotionally, that her father experienced as he progressed through the disease,” Ellen Keyes, executive director of Gateway Arts Council, said.
Walker explained that on Aug. 21, 2018, she received a call from her mother explaining that the police had to drive her father home because he almost caused a car accident. This incident forced Walker and her husband to step into the situation and deal with her father’s Alzheimer’s. Walker continued to explain that when her dad became a memory care resident, she saw a radical change in him and their family dynamic.
“With each visit, I saw him changing physically and emotionally. I felt an urgency to record those changes in my sketchbook,” Walker said. “As each sketch become a precious memory of very difficult moments to joyful praises, and positive attitudes. I discovered a closeness to my dad that I wasn’t able to experience before.
Walker was born in 1962 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she lived and studied until 1986 at which point she moved to Ohio to start her career, get married, and raise two children. Her passion for art started at an early age. As a shy five-year-old in kindergarten, her teacher encouraged her to paint during recess. As a child, she found immense pleasure in the freedom of self-expression in mixing and playing with color. In 2008, when the economy shifted, Walker changed her career from Interior Design to pursue her life-long passion to be an artist. She went to workshops all over the US, Canada, and France, and painted and drew daily to develop her skills as an artist.
In 2012, she went back to college for her MFA at the University of Cincinnati. Returning to college at 50 was the most difficult thing she has done. In grad school, she learned how to go beyond painting techniques and how to think and produce art that had substance and meaning.