EDISON Well-known Skagit County artist Joel Brock died over the weekend, just days before a gallery exhibit of his works was set to open in La Conner. He was 52.
Brock died of natural causes, according to preliminary findings by the Skagit County Sheriff's Office. Brock was known for his colorful paintings of Skagit County landscapes.
An exhibit featuring Brock and his paintings was set to open at the Skagit County Historical Museum on Friday, Nov. 1, but that exhibit is on hold, said Jo Wolfe, fundraising and publicity coordinator for the museum. At that exhibit,Brock's artwork, including some original pieces he was in the process of making solely for this exhibit, were set to be auctioned off, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the museum, Wolfe said.
"He was very generous to support the museum by offering to do the exhibit," Wolfe said. Brock used to own and operate what is now the Gallery Cygnus in La Conner and was active with both the Historical Museum and the Museum of Northwest Art, also in La Conner.
He also exhibited work at Whatcom Museum, Lucia Douglas Gallery and other galleries in Whatcom County.
"He will be missed," La Conner School District Superintendent Tim Bruce said. "Not only in the arts circle, but also in the educational realm for what he did in schools."
Brock had worked with classes in several school districts, helping with art classes and theater sets and holding workshops. His artwork could be found in school building hallways, including the La Conner School District.
"Joel was a tremendous friend to the district," said Connie Funk, administrative assistant at La Conner School District.
His loss will be felt throughout the valley, she said. Brock lived in the Bow-Edison area. He is survived by his two daughters.