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Goodbye but not Farewell for Pfister Artist in Residence
Fashion with feeling is the art of Timothy Westbrook

Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel Artist in Residence program has been a success to say the least during its existence. But the most recent A.I.R., textile designer and fiber artist Timothy Westbrook brought something more to the proverbial table at the public workspace in the lobby of the inn, emotional power. That was certainly on display at the most recent, balmy for Jan. 18th in Wisconsin, Gallery Night. His tireless Gallery Night show producer, Alexis Rose Criscimagna's beautiful tear streaked face, as she introduced Mr. Westbrook, delicately revealed what was to come in the presentation ahead, as she confessed that "her dreams were coming true," by being able to coordinate the evenings fashion event. That raw emotional tone did not let up when the shy A.I.R. himself, addressed the audience via a pre-taped speech played on an old school boom-box during his opening statement. And again when he spoke live on the microphone, his shaky voice filled with sweet sincerity, he told the gathering of art lovers and friends that they were not only observers of his work, but considered "family" just before the show commenced. When the lights dimmed, a video featuring the models walking hand in hand down the stairs and hallways of the beautiful old Victorian hotel accompanied by music from local favorites "I'm Not A Pilot" lulled us into a dream state. It was the perfect segue into the show itself. You see, by making his own textiles, and re-purposing pieces of fabric to create whimsical fairy tale couture from items like the hotel's umbrellas, those in attendance could sense that he literally imbues his love and passion into each well crafted, Victorian inspired garment. You could almost certainly feel his affection for the wearable art pieces radiating to the audience as the models paraded down the center runway of the downtown hotel's fabulously over the top Imperial Ballroom. The evening was supposed to be a swan song of sorts for this talented young man, who will be leaving us soon to pursue his passion of creating wonder and visual curiosity at another venue's Artist in Residence program out of state. But, fear not, I have been informed that he intends to make Milwaukee his home base in the future! I commented to some folks after viewing the well produced show that I thought he was a Pied Piper, in that he and director Alexis Rose, were able to bring immeasurable feeling as well as a sense of shared conscience to these bits of fabric we all saw. It was as though he could breathe new and imaginative life into everything that is artistic and creative that we witnessed that evening. He will be missed by all estimations, both at the hotel and around town after witnessing the great adoring and appreciative crowd that filled the baroque environs for the presentation. His promise to our city will be to help build a stronger sense of creative community, and for that I for one will be eternally grateful. Thank you Timothy, and welcome to your new home. To see more photographs from the show go to the Gallery section at www.fashionfarmboy.com.

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