VANCOUVER – A collection of art work created by the late Donald J. Stewart, noted community leader and philanthropist, will be on display in WSU Vancouver Administration Building gallery from Dec. 3 – Jan. 25. Entry to this campus exhibit is free.
There will be a gallery reception nearing the end of the exhibit from 3 -7 p.m., Jan. 15 in the Administration Building gallery.
Donald J. Stewart was born on July 31, 1895, in the Palouse area of eastern Washington. He showed an active interest in art during his youth and planned a career as an artist, but his father, county superintendent in Spokane, encouraged him to choose a less risky career path. Stewart retired in 1967 after 45 flourishing years as an architect. In retirement, his interest again turned to art and he began painting scenes at Heathergate Garden, the grounds around his remodeled farmhouse in northern Vancouver.
“These pieces were meant to express the instantaneous flash of visual and spirit inspirations that come and go so rapidly,” said Stewart. “These drawings are simple expressions of the spirit of the garden to pass on to future generations.”
It is fitting that his work focuses on the beauty of the natural landscape of Southwest Washington since he donated 12 acres of land on the Burnt Bridge Creek for use as a conservancy. It was Stewart and his wife Betty’s hope that this property could be saved from urban development and preserved as a natural arboretum and wildlife refuge. The Stewarts’ donation was a catalyst for moving the green belt idea forward which ultimately led to the creation of a 100-acre park now named “Stewart Glen,” encompassing Burnt Bridge Creek.