Guest column: What matters is connection

On October 14, 2018, Able Artists hosted a very successful celebration of the work and life of Zena Bernstein, a local artist and renowned illustrator of the Newberry Medal award-winning children’s classic, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. We invited our signature sponsors to share their experience. 

By Bill & Nancy Gray

We met Zena over twenty years ago. According to Zena it was at Jamie Brick’s annual ‘Fantasy in the Forest’ art festival at his property north of Kingston. But it might have been at her studio gallery while Nancy and I visited the many stops on a 1000 Islands Studio tour. It doesn’t matter. What matters was the connection we made.

From the beginning we were captivated by the work on display but also by Zena and Ian. We enjoyed talking with them. After their studio tour days were over, we would call, have a visit, and look around their studio, often purchasing something. Over the years we acquired a number of pieces of their work but also a friendship.

We treasured the invitation to attend their Christmas Party attended by friends and with a massive tree dominating the living room covered with antique ornaments and lights from Zena’s family.

Zena and Ian have always demonstrated a generosity of spirit, always welcoming us into their home. They also donated whenever asked to the annual Rotary Community Online Auction.

We were honoured to join with everyone in the celebration of Zena’s life and work and in the launch of her book, The Alderwild Wood.