SAN DIEGO – A local artist and photographer with a heart of gold has won a $5,000 grant in an online contest for people in the second half of their careers who are inspiring others to do good.
Sue Doyle, 58, of Alpine, Calif., is one of five winners in the “Marigold Ideas For Good” contest for September, the results of which were only recently announced. The contest is inspired by the movie, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” when a group of British retirees move to India and discover that life and love can be renewed when you let go of the past.
A grieving and brokenhearted Doyle recently founded Taylor’s HeArt Gallery as a way to honor her 19-year-old niece, Taylor Suzanne Gettinger, who shared her aunt’s love of creating art and who died of brain cancer after a 4½ battle.
“This project is devoted to the memory of my niece, Taylor, who died of cancer in 2011,” Doyle said. “She was a tremendous artist for her age, and after her diagnosis, art became a lifeline to her. She was an amazing young woman.”
On the Facebook page Taylor’s HeArt Gallery, Doyle writes:
“After fearlessly battling a brain tumor for 4 1/2 years, my niece Taylor sadly lost her battle to cancer. Seeing Taylor carry herself in such a strong, dignified, confident and positive manner inspired me to give back in such a way that would honor Taylor’s memory, especially her love of the arts. That is exactly what motivated me to come up with Taylor’s HeArt Gallery — an art gallery that will benefit nonprofits serving kids dealing with severe illnesses and circumstances, as well as a network of local artists that often do not get enough exposure.
“For Taylor, art was a great tool in dealing with the “un-copable” — it gave her a reason to survive, thrive, and deal with her circumstance in a positive and optimistic way. My desire is to uphold Taylor’s name and memory by giving hope and inspiration to others through the power of the arts.”
With the contest prize money, Doyle said she will be able to purchase a MacIntosh computer and a quality camera to build a website for her project. She also plans to start a blog that is connected to the project.
“I want to launch this as quickly as possible,” she said, noting that the contest rules require tangible results within six months.
Taylor’s HeArt Gallery will not be a brick-and-mortar operation but a virtual gallery. Doyle said artists and photographers who want to support her cause are invited to participate.
Online sales will be arranged by Doyle with 20% of the proceeds going to charities supported by Taylor's HeArt Gallery , 20% to Doyle and 60% to the artist, she said.
Tryce Czyczynska, a local activist and columnist who has written for SDGLN and other LGBT media, said via email that she is thrilled for her friend.
“I'm super proud of my good friend Sue,” Czyczynska said. “She's a local lesbian, artist and activist for health care ... Btw, she used to take all the great photos of my Coffee & Conversation with Cool Women series. She's donated a ton of good work to the community and never seeks recognition for it. I'd love for this unsung heroine to get some press for her upcoming good work.”
Doyle is known for her photography of nature and animals as well as her artwork.
"I like to recycle stuff in my art," she said. Right now, Doyle is collecting palm fronds and creating a collection of hearts ranging from 18 inches to 2½ feet. She paints in vivid tones, so the heart collection reflects her niece's love of bright colors.
Also, Doyle is recycling wine bottles in her 3-D artwork, covering them in papier-mâché to create doll-like shapes. Again, she uses vivid colors and funky jewelry, also in a tribute to her niece's tastes.
The "tabletop chotchkies," as Taylor calls them, are fun and funky, just like her niece. "I also use positive words to send an inspirational message," she said.
And that is why Doyle is the winner of a $5,000 grant.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at email@example.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.
Top left: Taylor Gettinger's Christmas 2010, right after she opened an original piece of art painted by her aunt, Sue Doyle. Taylor battled a Stage 3 inoperable brain tumor for 4½ years. "Our lives changed forever when she lost her battle Oct. 22, 2011," Sue Doyle said.
Middle left: Taylor Gettinger and her aunt Sue Doyle just before Taylor graduated from high school on May 25, 2010. "This is a picture I cherish deeply," Doyle said.
Bottom left: Sue Doyle, founder of Taylor's HeArt Gallery, and aunt to Taylor Gettinger.