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Hanrahan ‘ageless' within art community


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Audrey Hanrahan next to her Waterlily painting in 2010 at the annual Truro Art Society members show. Hanrahan, one of the founding members of the society, passed away on Wednesday after a short battle with bone cancer.

TRURO - When Janice Guinan thinks of Audrey Hanrahan, the words ‘ageless,' ‘strong,' and ‘powerhouse' come to mind.

"She really believed art was ageless," said Guinan about Hanrahan, who passed away Wednesday after a short battle with bone cancer.

"She believed art was a wonderful way to get involved and it had really shown in her life. She was always fresh and new. Someone like that, you think you're going to have around forever."

Hanrahan was one of the founding members of the Truro Art Society in 1969 and a teacher of commercial art at the Vocational School. Even after retirement, she continued painting and hosting workshops.

"She was a tremendous woman and she had an incredible impact on the arts community," said Guinan, past-president of the Truro Art Society.

"She taught so many students through school and workshops."

With Janice Stewart being the art society's president and Lyndia Baird-Wellwood taking over as vice-president, Guinan said it goes to show how many students Hanrahan inspired.

"Both had taken a course with Audrey and it says a lot to see her students continue on in the community. She inspired so many."

Throughout her years, Hanrahan remained active in the arts, from being the curator at the Marigold Cultural Centre Art Gallery, where she and her daughter booked a year's worth of artists, to organizing the Art in Bloom contest that coincided with the annual tulip festival held in Truro in the past.

"She was busy right up until she was diagnosed. She told her students, I think in March, that she wouldn't be able to teach for a while but she was still hopeful."

Guinan said the art society was and still is hoping to plan a show in Hanrahan's honour.

"We want to honour her, her work and her contribution to the community," she said, adding Hanrahan knew about the plans for the show.

"She has given so much and even at the age of 84 she was still going strong. She had so much life and was so feisty. She was willing to be there for you."

As a member of the Cobequid Arts Council, Dennis James had the pleasure of working with Hanrahan.

"She was a force of nature," he said. "She was very determined and she was thrilled to have the Marigold Cultural Centre constructed.

"Her spirit will be missed."

James was able to get to know Hanrahan since the early 1990s when his wife purchased one of her paintings. The couple won a second painting in a silent auction.

Five years ago, Hanrahan was instrumental in landing the Attic Painters a permanent display spot within the foyer of the Marigold Cultural Centre. Forty-five years ago, Hanrahan and Shirley Fulton established a working studio space in the historical Fulton Insurance building for local painters - the soon-to-be Attic Painters.

"She was very evident - with her teaching and seeing things progressing in the arts community," said Betty Rector, president of the Attic Painters. "She was a wonderful lady; always informative and friendly."

Rector said the art community will feel the loss of Hanrahan's passing, as she was always trying to promote anything and everything that had to do with the arts.

Hanrahan is survived by her children: Sharon, Holly, Tim, Tom, Ed and Anne; grandchildren Naomi, Cindy, Ruben, Robyn, Annie, Marta, Lee, Mason, Ryan and Daniel and extended Jordan; great-grandchildren Maryn, Noah, Megan, Hannah, Yula and Elise.

A celebration of her life will take place at 2 p.m. on May 20 at the Colchester Community Funeral Home on Willow Street. Visitation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on May 19.

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

 

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