Rolon Bert Garner

Rolon Bert Garner

Jan. 5, 1940 – Aug. 17, 2015

Rolon Bert Garner, a Seattle art legend whose influence on the local art scene was immense, passed away peacefully Aug. 17, on Whidbey Island. He was 75.

Garner, who was born and raised in Springfield, Ore., to Dust Bowler parents from Oklahoma, attended the Museum Art School in Portland before moving to Seattle. He was an artist in his own right, but spent most of his energy showing other artists’ work as an extremely talented exhibition designer. In Seattle, he either founded or helped establish many of the best things that happened in Seattle art during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s: Bumbershoot, and/or Gallery, Artech, The Virginia Inn art bar program and more. He held several art teaching posts in Washington and Oregon and served as a commissioner on the Washington State Arts commission. For 20 years, he was the art director and co-owner of the historic Two Bells Tavern in Belltown with his beloved wife, Patricia. In 1999, he and his wife retreated to Whidbey Island where he continued making his own art at his private studio in Clinton.

Rolon ‘Bert’ was a brother, father and a mentor to so many. Surviving family members include his son, Shane, and two grandchildren, Colin and Breanna. His unique character and love for all will be greatly missed.

A memorial celebration is being planned for late September in Seattle. Memorial contributions may be made to Seattle Art Museum (SAM).