Making a life with art
Couple inspires others to do the same Story by Carrie Scozzaro Photos by Steve Jamsa and Jerry Pavia
ackie Henrion and Dan Earle didn’t set out to be inspirational. “We have purposefully chosen not to serve on boards or on arts organizations,” said Henrion, “because we really feel that our goals are best served by being ‘fomenters of artistic trouble.’ ” You can hear the smile in her voice when she says this last part. Yet inspiring is exactly the word to describe their story: from their 16-year relationship, to their Sandpoint-area home that serves as a studio and gathering place for the art and music communities, to the way they’ve dedicated their lives to the arts and to learning.
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Discovering shared passions
It was 1994 and Henrion was working as an executive at PACCAR, a multinational commercial vehicle manufacturer based around Seattle. She had inherited an interest in art from her parents, both graduates of New York’s Cooper Union School of Art, although she had yet to vocalize her real passion: music. Earle, when they met, was living on a sailboat and enrolled in Seattle’s Academy of Realist Art. Aged 53, he had retired from a long career in education, which originated in Southern California and transitioned to northern Idaho, where he directed the startup of Rocky Mountain Academy, a school for at-risk teens in Boundary County. Their lakefront home on the Hope Peninsula has a tranquil energy, palpable and refreshing. Robert Fulghum, author of “All I Really Needed to Know I SANDPOINT MAGAZINE
Learned in Kindergarten,” comes to mind because he, like Earle and Henrion, is many things – artist, writer, pastor, teacher – many of which he discovered later in life. Second, a Fulghum sermon on marriage describes how conversations that evolve over time – of “us” and of the “future” and of commitment – are the real substance of partnership. The couple met in a modeling class at the art school where the instructor had asked Earle to sit in for a missing model. They talked before class, explained Henrion. “Then we went to lunch where we talked about how much joy we both felt when we were fully engaged in being creative. By the time we started the afternoon (drawing) session, we knew there was a spark of magic in our meeting.” Earle explained how they each sat down, by themselves, and wrote out a list of priorities and ambitions. “A space for art and creativity” was common to both lists. “(The lists) were astonishingly similar in that we wanted to live with art and music in a community that valued and enabled those pursuits,” says Henrion. Their first choice was to stay in Seattle and look for suitable living and studio space. They found a loft on Capitol
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