This week we reflect on the passing of a blossoming artist in our well-knit community of Payson. Gerri Levine was respected as an outstanding photographer, community contributor and officer of the Artist of the Rim Gallery.
Gerri was an Arizona resident who migrated from Phoenix to Payson to pursue her many endeavors, and to get a little closer to the nature and Native American culture that she loved. After graduating from college in Boston, Gerri moved to California where she worked as a research biologist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for 35 years. She was a published academic while at LBL.
When you talked to many of her friends and associates, they would speak to her outgoing personality, her dynamic spirit, and her sense of adventure. She loved to travel, and at the age of 40 she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and even traveled in the back of a truck to see Africa (that’s really roughing it!).
Gerri became involved in many groups and organizations in our town, including serving as a board member of the Payson Parks and Recreation, Payson Rimstone Rock Club, served a term on the editorial board of the Payson Roundup and most recently the Artist of the Rim Gallery in Payson, to name a few.
Photography became her main passion. She loved wildlife and the Arizona lifestyle and ambiance. Over the past several years, her artistry was published in the Arizona Highways magazine. Gerri’s photos have won several blue ribbons, as well as many “Best of Shows” in several fair exhibits. She has also had requests to use her photos as references/inspiration for “high end” artwork. Two of her photos were selected for inclusion in the Arizona Highways 2009 Photo Workshop pamphlet, and she was selected as a finalist for her entries in the Arizona Highways photo contest. Most recently she was featured in the Arizona Highways Centennial issue, depicting the longest running rodeo here in Payson. She had just been promoted to a “contributing photographer” status.
Gerri was more than an Arizona favorite. She was awarded First Place in the Backyard Habitat 40th annual photography competition in 2010 for National Wildlife magazine.
We will all miss you Gerri — your contagious smile, your wit, your passion for the arts, and your genuine love for the landscapes, culture, and wildlife of Arizona; and when we sit on our back porches watching the hummingbirds, we will be remembering you, and the imprint you have left on the Rim Country.
The Artist of the Rim Gallery will be saluting the life and accomplishments of Gerri Levine at the Gallery this Friday, March 2 from 5-8 p.m. Please join us as we honor Gerri.