August 4, 2018 10:05:01 PM
Gabe Valentine of Starkville was born with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare condition causing fragile, blistering skin and other debilitating complications. Before Super Gabe -- as he was known in his community -- passed away June 6, 2017, the 8-year-old told his family he didn't want them to forget all the other children suffering from EB. He hoped they would keep working toward a cure.
One way artist Lee Gibson, Gabe's grandmother, continues to honor that request is with Art for EB. The third annual art show is set for 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at Ole Homestead, the home of Rufus and Karen Ward at 302 College St. in Columbus.
Gibson, of Starkville, started the event in 2016, when her grandson was still battling his condition.
"One of Gabe's last requests to his family was to please keep these kids in mind, and as long as I have breath, I plan to keep this up," Gibson said.
Open to the public, the show and sale will feature 40 to 50 original oil canvases by Gibson and give attendees an opportunity to learn more about EB. A percentage of all sales will be donated to the EB Research Partnership.
"Lee will have many of her paintings available at special artist pricing established just for this event," said studio assistant Paige Knapp. Several select paintings will be available at additional discount, she added.
"A good portion of this year's works will be smaller canvases," said Gibson whose subjects are landscapes, still lifes, people and animals.
Those purchasing a painting at Art for EB will be included in a drawing for a 24-by-30-inch commission by the artist. Additionally, a raffle will be held for one of Gibson's original paintings. The winner will be drawn at 6:30 p.m.
Wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Rufus and Karen Ward have hosted every Art for EB at their historic Mississippi landmark home.
"For all the problems he had, Gabe had a wonderful outlook on life," Rufus Ward said, noting the youngster's wish for his family to support search for a cure.
"I've been amazed at the response (to Art for EB) in the past," he added. "Even if you've never thought about buying one of Lee's paintings before, come and look at them because she is a fabulous artist, and they're worth seeing."
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.