Best Of Tucson®

Most Heartwarming Art Story (Sort Of)

Conrad Wilde's Patrons Come to the Rescue

Days after this great little contemporary gallery won raves for its annual Encaustics Invitational (the Tucson Weekly praised its waxy works as "radiant" and "smooth" and "lush"), robbers hit. The thieves made off with 13 pieces, including "Sedimentary Series, Touch Sensitive," a hypnotic pattern piece that artist Mari Marks made while her daughter was dying. The gallery is highly respected, and the upright proprietor, Miles Conrad, was determined to pay the artists for their lost works. The Tucson community responded beautifully to his call for help: Local artists donated works to be sold—and buyers came and spent their dollars. At the end of the sale, Conrad had collected enough money to repay all of the artists. A few works were mysteriously returned—but not, alas, the work that Marks made for comfort in her time of grief.