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NORTH BEND — Kim Kimerling will be the featured artist for the months of November and December at Gallery by The Bay in North Bend. A reception will be held to honor him from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the gallery, 2100 Union. A raffle drawing for an original piece of art by the artist will be held at 6 p.m., winner must be present. Robin O’Neill, local well-known guitarist/harpist will provide the evening’s music.

I became acquainted with Kimerling 60 years ago in Boise, Idaho. We were both involved in musical comedy, part of Boise’s annual Music Week Festival. He was an actor, dancer and artist at that time. A native of Idaho, Kimerling had spent his youth watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and other great modern dancers of that era, learning the moves and honing his own skills.  He soon became recognized for the beauty of his creative interpretive dance.

He and a friend started a dance school and took part in the local drama groups. The multi-talented Kim was chosen to fill character, singing and dancing roles, in the local productions.

His grandmother recognized his artistic talents early in his childhood and taught him how to paint and work with crafts. He says, “I grew up with my chin on my grandmother’s quilting frames and it was she who inspired and encouraged me in my many efforts of creativity throughout my life.”

His family was not able to send him to college, but by working at many jobs, he found a way to enroll in the University of Idaho in Moscow (Idaho). His father, thinking Kim could not make a living in art tried to persuade him to become an architect, but Kim had other ideas. He felt drawn to teaching.

Growing up on the farm and having participated in a 4-H program, he found himself enjoying helping others. It was this which influenced him in choosing teaching as a career and majoring in art. Upon graduation in 1954 from U of I he received his B.A.

As a teacher, inspiring young people to express themselves in painting, sculpting, carving, print making was very rewarding to Kimerling. Then the federal government withdrew the funding of art in the public schools.  Insistent that art was a very necessary part of youth development Kimerling, with the help of others, put together the Art Mobile, a vehicle equipped with art supplies. He visited every school and reached each student in Eugene’s district 4J on a regular basis.

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He also went to the indigenous tribes of the Navajo in the Southwest and there, revisiting the skills of his youth taught to him by his grandmother, finding items in nature’s wonderland and make them into art. He was fascinated by the many symbols of those tribes and he incorporated many of them in his work. Many have called him a “symbolist.” 

He returned to his alma mater, the University of Idaho, this time to receive his Master’s in Art Education. Then a call came to go to Nigeria where he became a teacher of teachers of art at the University of Nigeria. Following his tenure in Nigeria, Belize was next, then Mexico and Canada — the reason he refers to himself as the “gypsy artist.” 

While teaching and traveling the globe in this manner, he set up Baha’i Centers in 32 areas along the way, wherever help was needed. Remembering the Baha’i High Scriptures, Kimerling says, “The earth is but one country and mankind its’ citizens.”

Abstract is his forte’, having given up the traditional representational (realistic) style many years ago. He's noted for his interpretive paintings of the human figure with elongated bodies. In his mixed media collages he makes use of many items including fabric, textured paper and/or rustic found objects. His standing animal carvings are often rendered in wood combining ceramic findings he makes to go with the forms. 

Kimerling and his son moved to the Bay Area from Roseburg in July of 2018. Since, his work was exhibited regularly at Northwest Gallery, Roseburg Art Museum and Silver Leaf Gallery. In the Coos Bay area he has exhibited paintings at Southwestern Community College, and some of his work may be viewed, rented or sold through the rental/sales at Coos Art Museum.  

Kimerling conducts three consecutive Monday classes each month in the Art Salon of Gallery by The Bay, 2100 Union in North Bend. For information, call 928-846-5411 (ask for Judy Rose) or 541-888-9119.

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