The name Kimberly Gales is an important one in Portland Open Studios history. As one of the first board members of our 21-year-old organization, she helped establish the yearly open studios tour.
Her untimely death of a stroke in 2005 – at age 56 – rocked her friends and family – and the PDXOS Board. In her honor, every year since the board has awarded a scholarship to an emerging young adult artist.
But Kim was also, first and foremost, a Gales girl. And that is a rich artistic, energetic, and wonderful family dynasty that continues to impact our organization today.
Her daughters, Aimee and Katie, are quite obviously still guided by her words and attitude. They live by her advice that “It’s the quality, not the quantity” and “Live life to the fullest”. Their contagious energy and optimism are energizing.
Kimberly Gales was a watercolorist, just starting to push the bounds of the medium. HER mother – who is still alive – is Myla Keller, a well-known, prolific Portland painter. They even did open studios together once!
Aimee and Katie are not painters but are amazing art appreciators. That starts with their mother and grandmother’s work, which adorn the walls of both girl’s homes. Aimee and Katie were young adults when their mother died, and the PDXOS Board started and funded the scholarship to remember her at the behest of then-board member Bonnie Meltzer.
But it’s now also a Gales girl mission: this year, when they found out the scholarship was still running, the Gales girls took it over – raising enough money to fund two candidates, with plans to open a Facebook page to remember their mother and collect donations. They also plan to host an annual fundraising party (the first one is planned for February, stay tuned for more details).
“We’d like to make enough money to offer a bigger stipend,” says Katie. “We’d like to give emerging artists real support, because we know how hard it is.”