An annual tradition in Camas was marked by sadness this year, after the event’s organizer, Camas Gallery owner Marquita Call, died unexpectedly Aug. 29, three days before artists gathered in downtown Camas for the Camas Gallery’s popular “plein air” event.
Camas artist Liz Pike said Call, 80, started the outdoor or “plein air” painting event “several years ago to help connect the Camas community to local art.”
In a press release announcing this year’s plein air event would honor the Camas Gallery owner, Pike said Call helped promote Camas’ fine arts scene.
“With grit and grace, she was a one-woman, nonstop promoter of local artists and art in our community,” Pike said of Call.
On Friday, Sept. 1, artists came to downtown Camas to paint a local scene and chat with passersby. At the end of the day, the artists brought their paintings to the Camas Gallery to be judged by the public. The event also kicked off the Downtown Camas Association’s art-themed First Friday.
Call’s friends, family and acquaintances left flowers outside the Camas Gallery Friday, and wrote notes on heart-shaped paper to honor the gallery owner.
“Our community is still reeling from the news of Marquita’s death,” Pike said. “(She) was loved by all who knew her. Since opening her Camas Gallery in 2010, she quickly became the unofficial mayor of Camas because of her passion for the city and its residents. … Her quick wit, million-dollar smile and can-do attitude touched the lives of so many.”