FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2003


Artists from as far away as South America, the U.K. and Asia are sending original paintings and other art objects to families who lost their homes in the Kelowna fires. The movement was inspired by a letter written by artist Robert Genn, who writes twice-weekly on creative practices to artists all over the world. A recent letter of Genn’s told the story of art dealer Stewart Turcotte, owner of Kelowna’s Hambleton Galleries. Turcotte was called to action by Kelowna’s numbered art collectors — who asked him to pick up valuable artwork for safe storage during the evacuations. Even Turcotte was awe-struck by the important works of art hanging on the walls of many Kelowna homes, including notable works by the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. Turcotte is now spearheading the campaign to repair and clean all the smoke-damaged artwork, and has inspired artists worldwide to lend a helping hand to those who were victimized by the fires. “The idea is to be able to give families something original and of value for their rebuilt homes, and/or to use the artwork to raise funds for the rebuilding effort.” Simultaneously, Turcotte is not only a hero in the eyes of Kelowna art collectors, but in the hearts of artists and art collectors worldwide. Genn’s original letter to artists is Fire Duty.

Stewart Turcotte is the owner and director of the Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna, B.C. Turcotte has been storing the art collections of fire-stricken Kelowna residents in a secure warehouse, and is now collecting original works of art donated by artists worldwide as part of his art benefit to help victims of the Kelowna fires.

Murray Roed, the burnt-out painter mentioned in Robert’s letter, managed to save most of his paintings and is giving one of them to the cause. Artists who wish to contribute to this cause can send their work directly to Stewart Turcotte at Hambleton Galleries.

The Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letter is an email dispatch for artists and can be subscribed to free of charge at The letter exists as a service and community for thousands of artists, students, art professionals and creative people worldwide and is published simultaneously in 3 languages. Robert Genn lives and works in Crescent Beach, B.C and can be reached at


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