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Susan O’Malley: More Beautiful Than You Could Ever Imagine

We lost the artist, curator, and incredible human being Susan O’Malley last week. She was dear to many here at Chronicle, and we are in the process of working on a book inspired by one of her projects. It’s an incomprehensible loss, the kind that can only be mollified by the sort of fierce positivity that Susan lived. An optimism so smart, persistent, and alert, that it transforms anything it touches.

To honor this quality we’re sharing some of the wisdom she collected and elevated through her project Advice From My 80-Year-Old Self. The project came together during the summer of 2014, when Susan walked along San Pablo Avenue and asked strangers in her warm and curious way, “If you had the opportunity to meet your 80-year-old self, what do you think she would tell you?” She then turned their answers into her signature brilliantly colored text pieces.

There will be a public memorial service for Susan and her baby girls, Reyna and Lucy, on Monday, March 9th at 11am at Villa Montalvo, where Susan was previously artist-in-residence at Montalvo Art Center. Please wear bright colors in her honor. A public celebration of her life and contributions as an artist and curator is planned for March 22, 2–5pm, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Her loved ones have also established the Susan O’Malley Memorial Fund for the Arts to support emerging artists and to commission a permanent installation of Susan’s work. Details on how to donate can be found at morebeautifulthanyoucouldeverimagine.com

Susan O'Malley art

Susan O'Malley art

Susan O'Malley art

Susan O'Malley art

Susan O'Malley art

Susan O'Malley art

Susan O'Malley art

Photo courtesy of susanomalley.org

Kathryn Jaller

Associate Director of online strategy at Chronicle Books and art/craft/cat lady. You can follow her at @kholler.

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