Telluride Foundation: Elaine Fischer, Citizen of the Year

Telluride Foundation: Elaine Fischer, Citizen of the Year

The Telluride Foundation’s Board of Directors held its bi-annual meeting on July 5, 2016 and selected the late Elaine Fischer as the 2016 Outstanding Citizen of the Year. The celebration of her life and work is Tuesday, December 6, 5 – 7 p.m.. at the Sheridan Opera House. 

43rd annual Telluride Chamber Music Fest is dedicated to the memory of Elaine Fischer, former mayor, country commissioner and music lover.

Elaine Fischer, former Telluride mayor, country commissioner, artist and music lover.

The Telluride Foundation created its Outstanding Citizen award to honor individuals who unselfishly make extraordinary contributions to the region’s quality of life. Fischer was unanimously selected for her legacy of exemplary service and volunteerism to the community.

Elaine Fischer was a resident of Telluride for over 30 years. During that time contributed to the community as council member, mayor, county commissioner, and artist.

As a painter known her rich use of colors and bold images, Elaine was an inspiration to many fellow creative types, as well as aspiring up-and-comers. It was Elaine’s wish that a scholarship be established in her name that would allow graduating seniors to continue their education in visual arts.

Elaine created her first opus magnum in kindergarten, which the teacher hung in front of the class room for weeks. In elementary school, she was chosen for a special art program at the Carnegie Institute, one of only 300 Pittsburgh kids selected to study theory and technique. Elaine attended the course from age 9 – 17, graduating high school with a rock solid background in ceramics and painting. At Rhode Island School of Design, Elaine learned to sculpt. Sculpting lead to a deeper interest in painting – and no wonder: Elaine is the niece of world-renowned painter Philip Pearlstein, whose tactile nudes appear to have been sculpted with paint.

Elaine Fischer shared other things with Uncle Phil, adjectives such as matter-of-fact, sharp, hard, clear, not idealized, in-your-face, words that could easily be used to describe Pearlstein’s body (pun intended) of work.

As an art form, portraiture falls into two camps: the brush for hire, whose job is to enshrine social and public roles; and students of human nature, who tend not to decorate reality. Elaine Fischer’s portraits fell into the latter art-for-art’s-sake camp. Nothing about that work was politically correct. Pointing her paint brushes at her heart,  Elaine Fischer wound up revealing bare naked truths about who she really was  – and the fact she was one heck of a painter.

Uncle Phil was very proud.

As an Outstanding Citizen, Fischer’s legacy will be honored with a commemorative plaque and a grant of $5,000 to be given to the Elaine R. C. Fischer Visual Arts Scholarship Fund.

Fischer shares this honor with Terry Tice (2003), Lissa Margetts (2004), John Micetic (2005), Bill Carstens (2006), John Pryor and Jane Hickcox (2007), Kathy Green (2008), Marilyn Branch (2009), Dan and Greer Garner and Andrea Benda (2010) and Billy “Senior” Mahoney (2011), Anne Brady (2012), Dean Rolley (2013), Kristin Holbrook (2014), and Gary Freedman (2015).  A celebration to honor Elaine’s memory will occur Tuesday, December 6, 2016 from 5:00-7:00p.m. at the Sheridan Opera House.  The community is encouraged to attend.

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