On the first day of May, friends and family of Mary Kiesau gathered in the TwispWorks Community Plaza to honor her life and to celebrate her passion for the natural world. Mary passed unexpectedly on April 15th of last year and at long last, an opportunity to grieve as a community finally came. Along with a deep sense of loss, those that knew Mary also lifted up her remarkable life as a naturalist, educator, and photographer. Many people have been touched by her passion for the flora and fauna of the Methow, and many homes are graced by the fruits of her dedication to photography. In honor of this legacy, a memorial fund was created in her name soon after her passing. The Mary Kiesau Community Fellowship Fund was generously kick-started by numerous friends and family members with the goal of awarding at least two $1,000 fellowships to artists, photographers or naturalists every year. Through this fund, the spirit of Mary will continue to live on in the form of creative and educational projects dreamed up by fellowship recipients. What a beautiful gift to the world! The inaugural year of the fund resulted in ‘too many great proposals,’ so the selection panel voted to award three fellowships.
The 2021 Mary Kiesau Fellowship recipients are: David Lukas, Dave Moskowitz and Etsuko Ichikawa. Naturalist David Lukas will use the fellowship to create a series of short video vignettes introducing wildflowers of the Methow Valley, one of Mary’s favorite subjects. Photographer, naturalist and educator Dave Moskowitz envisions creating a portfolio of photographs highlighting wildlife captured by camera traps and images of people interacting with the Methow landscape. Multi-discipline artist Etsuko Ichikawa, who is based in Seattle, will spend a month in the Methow this fall exploring the various native soils in an effort to create dyes for fabric. She envisions creating woven artworks that highlight the different dye characteristics and replicating this process at other locations around the country. All three artists are extremely grateful for the award and are committed to sharing the outcomes of their projects with the community. Stay tuned for future opportunities to see the final works created by the 2021 fellowship recipients.