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We are sad to learn that renowned artist and longtime friend of the Sitka Center Larry Thomas passed away on January 6, 2023. His kindness and creativity will be dearly missed.
Larry was a beloved and long-serving instructor and collaborator at Sitka since the 1990s and taught drawing workshops up until 2018. Larry was also a three-time Artist in Residence at Sitka, first in 1991, and then returning in 2005 as part of the then newly founded Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency at Sitka. In 2019, Larry again returned as one of nine past printmaking residents invited to take part in a special portfolio project led by Master Printmaker Julia D’Amario to commemorate the Sitka Center’s 50th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of the printmaking program.
Known and remembered for his humility and generosity, Larry was deeply influential in helping Sitka’s Residency Program gain broader credibility and visibility in the art world, and he was especially central in inspiring Sitka to create a printmaking studio with an etching press as a way to attract new artists to Sitka. Smith Studio, the Ray Trayle printing press and the Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency continue to attract talented artists from across the country and are living legacies of Larry’s desire and efforts to see Sitka’s Residency Program evolve and thrive. Through his art making, teaching and advocacy, Larry inspired generations of artists at Sitka and beyond.
Over the years, Larry also showed work at Sitka’s annual Art Invitational, taught drawing at Nestucca High School as part of Sitka’s community outreach efforts and served as an advisor to the Sitka Center on special projects. Most recently, his work was included in Sitka’s 2021 exhibits at Waterstone Gallery in Portland and the Chessman Gallery in Lincoln City, and in a 2022 exhibit at jdc Fine Art in the Salishan Marketplace.
A selection of Larry’s prints will be on view beginning next week in Sitka’s Tiny Stairwell exhibit space.
A video interview with Larry was filmed at Sitka in 2019 during his participation in the commemorative printmaking program portfolio project. In it, Larry shares his history with Sitka and the printmaking program in his own words.
Larry’s obituary is available here.
With sympathy for his loved ones and for all in the Sitka community who will miss Larry Thomas,