Roger and B.J. Clark Inspired by Art and Community
n Loveland, it’s hard to tell what came first: a community dedicated to the arts or artists drawn together to create a community. Regardless, supporting Loveland’s arts goes hand in hand with being an active part of the community. No one knows this better than Roger and B.J. Clark. The Clarks would humbly have you take away from this article not that they have done something special in Loveland. Rather, they would firmly remind readers that what makes the arts such a prominent part of Loveland culture spans far beyond the simple ways in which they are able to participate. They point to a community of “friends helping friends” and the energy created when artists are around other artists. One would argue, however, that it is the Clarks’ example (and others like them) – two art lovers who just want to be involved – that is exactly what shaped Loveland into what it is today. Roger and B.J.’s story started when they met at Harvard in 1970, “a product of the coed dorm rooms,” says Roger. Roger was
at Harvard Law School and B.J. was obtaining her English degree. After marrying and taking up residence in Chicago in 1971, they came to Loveland to visit a friend, Larimer County Judge Dave Williams, and fell in love with “all that stuff that draws people out,” says Roger. From Rocky Mountain National park to the Colorado lifestyle, they were hooked and Loveland, in particular, was the apple of their eye. “Roger always had the urge to be in a smaller town, part of a community,” says B.J. In 1973, they picked up their belongings and moved. Thirty-seven years later, the Clarks have a grown daughter, and two grandchildren, ages seven and five years, who live in Frederick, Colorado. Roger has always been interested in the arts. His mother was an accomplished artist, and one of her paintings is proudly displayed in Roger’s office at his Loveland law firm, Clark Williams and Matsunaka. The painting hangs on the wall across from his desk, a prized spot. “My mother painted, did ceramics, threw pots . . . she dragged me to a lot of museums when I was young,” he says, so his interest came naturally. Clark is a bit of an artist himself – “I draw some,” he reveals – though he keeps mostly quiet about his own works. B.J. is also an artist, though her works take the form of words on paper. She is a published author of two books (one a children’s book). She is also executive director for Epsilon Sigma Alpha International in Fort Collins, a service organization that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The early 70s was a fortuitous time for the Clarks to settle in Loveland. Loveland’s artists were busy setting the city apart as a true arts community. The Clarks were present through the establishment of the Art Castings of Colorado art foundry; saw the determination of five sculptors who in 1984 had the vision to create a world-class sculpture show, Sculpture
in the Park; and participated in the restoration and revival of the Rialto Theater, which reopened in 1995. Throughout these important events in Loveland’s art history, Roger and B.J. supported the arts with philanthropic works, volunteering and leadership. Roger has served on the board of directors for the Erion Foundation since the mid-90s, the only non-family member to do so. He also serves on the City of Loveland Visual Arts Commission board and the Community Foundation’s Loveland Community Fund Committee Board of Trustees. Roger’s work on these boards, geared toward promoting Loveland’s arts, only tells part of the story. He and B.J. call many of Loveland’s artists “friends” and were eager to wrap up their interview in the interests of meeting up with one local artist for a St. Patrick’s Day feast. They speak with emotion about other Loveland artists and art lovers, such as sculptor George Walbye, who was one of the forefathers of Loveland’s Sculpture in the Park, and George’s late wife Phyllis, the beloved Reporter-Herald arts and entertainment editor. A sculpture commissioned in Phyllis’ honor will be placed outside the Rialto Theater in May. The sculpture’s dedication will coincide with the theater’s 90th anniversary. Together, B.J. and Roger enjoy writing poetry and belong to a local poetry club, led by acclaimed artist Veronica Patterson. Whatever the medium, the Clarks participate in, advocate for and get a little misty-eyed over Loveland’s great collection of artists. They encourage everyone to embrace the arts: “It gives you a fuller life,” says Roger. Often, when he speaks publically in support of the arts, he uses one of his favorite quotes from B.J. “I tell them, ‘Arts reference the human spirit. You can’t do better than investing in humanity.’”
Angeline Grenz is editor of Style Magazine.
in•no•vate – v. 1. to introduce something new; make changes in anything established, 2. to alter.
Style invites you to nominate your Community Innovator. Send suggestions to angie@stylemedia. com for consideration.
Lydia’s STYLE Magazine
Published on Aug 7, 2013
Published on Aug 7, 2013
April - Northern Colorado Economy A powerful issue with an article focus on Northern Colorado’s business, building, economy, lifestyle an...