Loss of local artist shines light on his lasting legacy | TheUnion.com

Loss of local artist shines light on his lasting legacy

Brett Bentley
Staff Writer

I was saddened to return to work after the long weekend to news that Fred Hodgson had passed away.

I had the opportunity to work with Fred for the past few years in his capacity as the Art Works Gallery publicist. Whenever the gallery would host an event, Fred was in the lobby of The Union two weeks ahead of time with a broad smile, well-written press release, photos and anything else I would need to pull together an article for Prospector. But it was not his great promotional skills that left a lasting impression.

It was his genuine, warm, thoughtful character that stood out most. A few years ago, Fred and his spouse Brad Carter invited me into their home to talk about a cause near and dear to their hearts, HALO, a program which helps meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nevada County. Each year the couple coordinated and hosted Art for Life to raise funds for program. The event showcased the long-time couple's passion for art as well as their beautiful garden, landscaped entirely with native Sierra foothill plants.

At the time, I wasn't able to attend the event, but was impressed with Brad's incredible use of all native plants that once established, didn't require an irrigation system and wanted to share it with my husband. Fred didn't hesitate to extend an open invitation for a visit to the garden for my family.

On the heels of their Art for Life event that year, Fred and Brad opened up their garden once again for the annual Soropotimst Garden Tour. Last year, they hosted Art for Life and a second garden party to benefit a local environmental group. Every time they welcomed the community to their home, it was always for a good cause that helped highlight other good causes, such as local artists, musicians, caterers and more. Fred and Brad have helped raise thousands of dollars for local nonprofits.

Tuesday afternoon, members of the 34-artist Art Works Gallery co-op gathered to share their Fred stories, because, as gallery President Gail Lipson points out, everyone has a Fred story.

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"He was a delight to work with, always cheerful," she said.

Fred was among the founding artists of the gallery and was also on the board. The co-op is devastated by the news of his passing, Lipson said.

A memorial will be planned for later this summer, Lipson said. In the meantime, those who knew Fred and area familiar with his lasting impact in the community that wish to do something can make memorial contributions to HALO. Please make donations payable to Unity in the Gold Country. Write "HALO – in memory of Fred Hodgson" on the memo line of the check and mail to Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center, 180 Cambridge, Grass Valley, CA 95945.

His warm smile will be missed.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be reached at bbentley@theunion.com or by calling 530-477-4219.

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