Kimberly Willcox: The Gift of Receiving

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As Florida-based mixed media artist, Kimberly Willcox, notes: “Nothing can prepare you for a disaster.” And while away at a show in July 2010 her world turned upside down with one short call from her daughter: “Stay calm…your studio is on fire.” A devastating electrical fire combined with hours of water to combat it, turned her 3,000 sq. foot studio and its 25-year collection of machines and tools into a nightmare of water, soot, mildew, rust and ashes.

Within 10 days of submitting a request for assistance, Kimberly received a grant and a no-interest loan from CERF+. In the weeks to follow, CERF+ staff was able to garner significant in-kind contributions (a booth fee waiver from the American Craft Council, equipment from Stanley Black & Decker Corporation and building materials from Lowe’s). CERF+ also directed Kimberly to other sources of emergency relief which led to grants from two foundations.  “There were times when we wanted to give up. Thanks to people like you, we have not,” noted Kimberly in a recent letter to CERF+.

The first body of work she’s created since the fire (made with fire salvaged boards) is called “The Gift of Receiving” and was, as she notes, “welcomed with hugs, stories, tears and…yes, sales.”

Above artwork: “The Phoenix and I Rising from the Ashes” 24” X 44” acrylic, watercolor and pastel.