When artist and gallery owner Lily Mulberry passed away April 16 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma a piece the local art community went with her.
But through the love and efforts of her friends, family and supporters over the past month, her life’s work will continue at the gallery she opened in Over-the-Rhine back in 2005.
On Friday night, as part of the monthly "Final Friday" gallery hop in the OTR and Pendleton neighborhoods, numerous pieces of her work will be on display at 1305 Gallery . It's the second part of the "Thank You, Lilly" exhibition series.
The show features work from across her adult life – ranging from her time as a student in the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program to up until recently. There's even a drawing she made when she was young girl.
“Each work was specifically chosen by Michael Stillion, the curator,” said a person associated with the gallery who wished not to be named.
“The works on display are a retrospective of Lily's work over her lifetime, which shows her growth from a talented young artist into school all the way to the yuletide crafts she generated last winter.”
Her collection of work is so robust that some had never previously been seen by even her closest friends. Even her husband was surprised by the amount of work he found while going through storage at the gallery.
“These are works that haven't been seen by even her husband Richard (Applin),” said family friend and artist Kirk Mayhew. “Lily had been busy and the sheer volume of her portfolio is what has lead to having two consecutive gallery exhibitions.”
Part I included works from Mulberry's collection, her own artwork and a selection of artists who exhibited at 1305 Gallery over the years. These artists have also donated works for sale in support of Mulberry and her family.
Part II exclusively showcases Mulberry artwork, something she did only once – the first-ever show the then-22-year-old held at the space.
Mayhew said while it’s been cathartic to sort through his friend’s work it’s also been difficult for him.
“We have a done a good job putting work in front if us to lessen the pain, but it's the small things that (mess) me up and make me miss her,” Mayhew said. “It’s wonderful but difficult at the same time.”
Some of the pieces on display through the month of June are for sale, with most of the money raised going toward keeping 1305 open for at least the next year.
“The majority of the proceeds will benefit the space,” said Mayhew, adding that donation boxes were built and will be placed in businesses along Main Street in OTR. “We have set up an account that has 'a square' and will be able to take cards on site tonight. We also have an online access for giving.”
Friday night’s event that runs from 6 to 9 p.m.
Additional plans regarding the gallery's future will be announced at the event. But the overall goal is to keep the space open for at least the next year, according to Mayhew.
“The 1305 Cooperative has been set up to continue Lily's vision. We are asking for donations to keep the art-friendly space open,” he said, adding that Mulberry’s husband is picking who’s on the board. “We want to continue to bring well-made artwork that’s accessible to a widest range of a Greater Cincinnati audience.”
Mayhew said it’s kind of telling that it’s going to “take a whole team of people to do what Lily did all by herself.”
“Richard said to me that Lily kicked cancer's (butt), but it was the complications that took her. Basically, it took a number of things simultaneously that would kill any of us to finally get her to sit down.”
All photos courtesy of the 1305 Gallery Facebook page.