A Tribute to Ray Leier
by Michael Scarborough
September 9, 2015
Just last Friday I had to tell Ray Leier that my pieces wouldn't be ready for the upcoming "Hot Tea" exhibition at the del Mano Gallery. Here's the response I received from him:
Not a problem. Listen, as far as I'm concerned mothers will always trump teapots. I wish you and your family the best. Give your mother all you've got, she won't be around forever.
I look forward to seeing what you have come up with for Small Treasures.
Be well my friend.
When, in 2013, I lost my best friend and muse, and was unable to finish my pieces for "Hot Tea", I received similar advice. He'd been there and knew how it felt.
I began working with Ray in 2012, and, in the all too brief time I knew him, I found him to be a human being first and a gallery owner second, a rare trait in the business of art.
It seems that he was born with a love of beauty and sought to share that beauty with an increasingly unlovely world. As far back as high school, he created his own home-made bronze foundry. His well-developed eye and overarching knowledge of the decorative arts seemed encyclopedic.
Ray understood that offering feedback and advice, and helping an artist grow, was in the interest of both the artist and the gallery. Getting responses to questions was never a problem. Trust me. That sort of commitment to an artist's development is rare even from some gallery owners with whom an artist already has an established relationship.
Ray put people first. Every summer, at his own expense, he chartered a fishing boat and crew to take blind kids fishing. He signed off every email with “Be well my friend", and I knew that he meant it.
What more do you need to know about him?
Rest well my friend.