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Gerber bronze 'Reggie' honors Childers and Proctor

"Reggie, whose formal name is Reginald Childers Proctor, was the greeter at the Childers/Proctor gallery in Langley from 1983 until 1999, and was noted particularly for his ability to lower his left ear. He has now been immortalized in bronze by sculptor Georgia Gerber. The sculpture will be installed on Saturday with due ceremony in front of what is now the Gaskill/Olson Gallery.Longtime visitors to the Childers/Proctor Gallery, who have continued their patronage since it became the Gaskill/Olson Gallery, may have noticed something missing: Reggie -- actually Reginald Childers Proctor -- who served as the gallery mascot and greeter from 1983 until the gallery was sold in 1999, has retired with his masters, Ron Childers and Richard Proctor. Now the stylish dog, noted for his extensive collection of triangular neck scarves, will be back to welcome gallery visitors -- permanently this time. Reggie, a bronze sculpture by Georgia Gerber, will be installed in front of the Gaskill/Olson Gallery during the Langley Summer Art Walk on Saturday, July 22, in a 7 p.m. ceremony. The installation honors Ron Childers and Richard Proctor, former owners of the gallery, for their many years of service to the arts community of South Whidbey. Taking part will be Gerber's husband Randy Hudson, Eric Little, and Rainbow Metals from Monroe. We are very touched, and very pleased and grateful for Georgia's and Randy's gift, said Richard Proctor. We were happy to recognize the value of Georgia's work early on and carry it in our gallery. This honor to Reggie and to us is a great capper to our professional life. Childers and Proctor have been South Whidbey Islanders for the past 20 years. Childers arrived in 1954 to teach art (K-12) at what is now Langley Middle School. Two years later he transferred to Bellevue where he continued to teach until 1985. Proctor, an associate professor emeritus at the University of Washington School of Art, first visited Langley in 1963 as art juror for the Island County Fair. He also taught painting classes for several years at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Oak Harbor in the early 1960s. Now, 37 years later, he and Childers will once again be fine art jurors for the fair.Both Childers and Proctor have been active with the formation and early growth of the Island Arts Council, serving in several capacities including president and treasurer respectively. In the performing arts arena, both worked on scene design and set decoration for most Fools productions; Childers has also designed numerous sets for Island Theater and did costume design for the motion picture Lemmings. He was on the IAC committee that conceived and diligently worked for what is today the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.In addition to their 37 years of educating young artists and 17 years of gallery duty, both men have remained productive artists themselves. Their work is included in many private and corporate collections. Proctor is the author of two design books, both of which are still in print and used as college texts. Both are founding members of the Langley Art Walk gallery group.Georgia Gerber, another longtime Island resident, received her Masters of Fine Art from the UW Art School in 1982. The Childers/Proctor Gallery has represented her since the beginning of her career, and Childers and Proctor were very influential in helping secure her first public sculpture in Langley.Ron was very active in the fundraiser to put the Boy and Dog Sculpture in Langley, Proctor said. Actually, Reggie was the original model for the dog, but Georgia then said her dog Joshua was the senior dog, and had also been heroic. And Reggie was just too cute.Gerber did tell Childers and Proctor that someday she'd do a statue of Reggie.And then she called and said, 'Let's do it.' We're very pleased at this spontaneous gesture.Gerber does limited edition works for private collections, as well as private and public commissions. She has more than 35 public sculptures throughout the Northwest, other parts of the United States and Japan. Off the island, she is probably best known for Rachel, the Market Pig at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, and one of her most recent large public works is a 20-foot bronze lifesize lunch counter complete with waitress and seated patrons in downtown Wichita, Kansas. Reggie becomes the fourth public Gerber sculpture in Langley. The others are the well known Boy and Dog overlooking Saratoga Passage, Otter Memories in the small walk-through garden at the Langley Library, and Mary, a standing Virgin Mary in the contemplative garden of the St. Hubert Catholic Church.Georgia's work is primarily figurative, though not completely realistic, said Gaskill/Olson gallery owner Roxanne Olson. She captures the character and presence of the subject through basic form and artistic expression rather than anatomical detail.This spring she released Tango, the third sculpture in a very popular dancing rabbit series that began with the Harvest Moon Ball and Doing the Hokey Pokey. Both these earlier pieces are featured in the July issue of Southwest Art magazine. Like the prior sculptures in the series, Tango combines the sinuous lines and movement of dancers with the whimsical grace of oversized rabbits, Olson said.As for Reggie, he seems unaffected by his pending stardom and is taking it all with aplomb. He still enjoys unescorted walks whenever the opportunity occurs, and often performs the wet nose on the bare leg trick. We still have our phone number on his collar, Proctor said."

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