We lost a member of the arts community recently: Materese Roche. Let me tell you about her.
I keep returning to a conversation Materese and I had in the supermarket parking lot about a dozen years ago. She had decided to leave a regular paying job to do what she loved. We talked for some time; me, one who had gone that direction, standing in jeans and a tired work shirt, and she, worried but courageous and determined, in her nice clothes. She had lost her brother and felt compelled to take the leap and become a full-time painter because if not now, when?
I don’t know if that discussion had any bearing other than to show it was possible, but since then, Materese put herself all-in on her dream. She studied, she worked, and she gave back. She taught others, bringing them into that natural world of art that lit her up. Materese didn’t lack talent, initiative or drive. She overcame a lot to become a fine painter. It’s a familiar story among this group.
There is a common caricature of an artist, in temperament and appearance, but the community I know has a vast selection of types. There are people who wear the hat, and those who need to make things. There are those who follow footprints and those who make their own. Matarese gave everything she had in service of her aspirations. She was lovely, kind and focused. Capable and respected.
I’m told an award is being created in her name that will be administered by the Arts and Cultural Council of Bucks County, so it will have the nonprofit deduction bells and whistles. The award will be presented at its annual show, with the size and duration determined by how much is collected. That’s fitting.
Your help is needed to make this happen. Please donate to keep the memory and spirit of Materese going — to make a difference, in her honor. Join me and send a check to the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County, P.O. Box 336, Doylestown, PA 18901. Include the memo MRMF and your email address for a receipt. If your check doesn’t have your street address, put that in, too. Thank you for your consideration.
Robert Beck is an artist and Solebury resident.
Editor’s Note: A memorial service for Materese Roche is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Gratz Gallery, 5230 Silo Hill Road, Doylestown Pa. 18902.