(L-R) Betty Wells, Audrey Gronau and Lorraine Thomas
WALNUT CREEK -- For many in the local community, the name Betty Wells
is synonymous with the Valley Art Gallery
passing June 2 in Alamo, the avid photographer and longtime Valley Art Gallery co-director's presence was still felt at the gallery's first reception without her
Friends and fellow art colleagues said the Oct. 9 reception for "Hooray for Today," the gallery's current show and named after a photograph Wells took during a trip to Jamaica, was bittersweet.
The fall exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Wells
, who was a longtime Lafayette resident.
Several words come to mind when describing Wells
: talented nature and wildlife photographer, organizer, traveler, mentor,
Aside from her artistic side, Wells was known to be tech-savvy, a huge Apple enthusiast ¬ - she passionately embraced new Apple software programs, and friends say it's possible Wells and the late Apple founder are having stimulating conversations up in heaven.
"We feel very much that she's still with us," said Lorraine Thomas of Lafayette, who's known Wells
for 26 years.
Gina Koenig, a Lafayette watercolorist, remembers Wells
got her into volunteering at the gallery, and was always interested in what Koenig was painting.
Artist Paula Boas remembers Wells as a dedicated mentor to artists who offered guidance to gallery members on how to hang paintings for shows.
Boas said Wells
was key in rescuing the gallery more than 26 years ago when it was about to go under.
had an interest in all people -- whether volunteers, artists or patrons.
Boas said her time spent with Wells
at Valley Art Gallery
taught her a lot about art and running a gallery.
'Hooray for Today' art show dedicated to the memory of photographer Betty Wells