Celebrating Kato Jaworski
This past Sunday, hundreds of people gathered at the Richmond Art Center to celebrate the life of Kato Jaworski, our long-time friend, a creative artist and the admired Studio Art Director of the Art Center, who passed away on December 28, 2014 after a serious illness. It was a beautiful day that fully embraced the unique person that we’ve been lucky and honored to have known since she became part of the Richmond Art Center in 2005, and it celebrated the incredible community that Kato created here. You can view the memorial program here.
This celebration was filled with some of the many things that Kato loved and was possible thanks to the incredible generosity of numerous people. Thank you to everyone who attended and who contributed their music, movement, art, flowers and practice to this beautiful event. We are so grateful. Thank you to Tatsumaki Taiko, Lisa di Prima and India Cooke and Don Robinson for truly moving performances. To the Wen Wu school for sharing their Tai Chi practice with us. To Rise Justman and Sarah Calderon for documenting the day through film and video. To Bert Young and KCRT for lending equipment to make it possible for folks around the Art Center to hear the kind words spoken by so many people. Thank you to Michele Seville, John Wehrle, Lauren and Daniel Ari, PJ Peterson and Lia Roozendaal for delivering kind words, poems and speeches. Gratitude goes to Jan Brown, Michele Seville and Susan Wittenberg for helping us lead the event. To our board members for providing a lovely spread of food for all to enjoy. To Suzanne Lacke and Signe Brewer for offering people a way to connect with Kato through drawing. And an enormous thank you to all of the volunteers for helping orchestrate, prepare for and staff the memorial.
We will continue to commemorate Kato’s extraordinary life and contributions through the Kato Jaworski Scholarship Fund, which will provide kids and teens with need-based scholarships to take our classes and workshops. Donations can be made online, by phone at 510.620.6772 or by mail to: Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804. Make checks payable to ‘Richmond Art Center,’ and please add Kato Jaworski Scholarship Fund to the notes section of your check.
Memories of Kato
We invite you to email a photo or memory and continue to share your memories and we will post them below, so that people far and wide can read the beautiful sentiments that are being shared about Kato.
Photo by: John Wehrle
I am bereft and filled with sadness about Kato’s passing.
I met Kato when she worked at the original Amsterdam Art before she moved to Vermont.
I was also in touch with her during the years I taught at the RAC. She would always be there in the evening exuding her outgoing optimism when I came dragging things in, overwhelmed by traffic.
There simply are no good answers to why the good people die young. I send my condolences to her friends and loved ones.
I weep for our loss of you.
Thank you for making RAC a great place of refuge for everyone.
Safe passage to the other side.
I cannot imagine Kato gone.
I cannot imagine the Richmond Art Center without her. She gave so much of herself to all of us, and asked nothing in return. She was one of the most thoroughly professional persons in art that I have ever met. She made me feel special. I will truly miss her.
With friends and dogs in Vermont. Sent by Jim.
Thank you to Sue Hartman and the City of Richmond for sharing this photo.
Kato was a warm and generous person. In the short time we have come to know her she was always ready and willing to help in any situation.
Ursula and John
Kato was one of those rare individuals upon meeting once you felt as if you’d known her all your life.
Among all the beautiful sentiments here I felt the need for Kato to be remembered as the incredible talented artist she was. Kato would not go anywhere without her drawing/note book. When she had a minute to sit down the ink pen, or brush or even a wooden stick would come out and she would draw what was in front of her. I will forever treasure her beautiful drawings and paintings of our life together. Here Kato and I were on a trip to LA in ’03. I think the drawing was of in a Venice beach cafe.
Kato thank you for being the most amazing, astounding, bewildering, breathtaking, extraordinary, impressive, marvelous, miraculous, spectacular, striking, stunning, wonderful and wondrous person I will ever know and sharing your life with me for all these years.
Barbara Kossy, “Kato’s Red Room,” photo composition of Kato at work, 2005
I am sending a photo of a piece Kato gave me when we moved away. It has been a joy to own it. It was a joy to know the wonderful woman we call Kato, the artist, the generous spirit, the manager and the friend.
I am shocked and saddened that I will no longer see Kato’s big smile. She helped me so many times in my novice year at RAC. I loved her energy for her students, for the school and for ARTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT. What a lovely woman. I am glad that she was able to touch so many lives. I wish she were still with us.
I wanted to express my deepest condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Kato. I am a park ranger with Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.
I met her through our working partnership when she helped me coordinate visits for the Richmond summer camp program that I work with, Rosie’s Girls. We brought the girls to the Richmond Art Center annually for several years for workshops in silkscreening and metalwork. Kato was always such a warm and welcoming person. I will miss her smiling eyes.
So sad to hear this news,
Kato and I were friends for many years, having met in Berkeley in the 1980’s when we all worked at Amsterdam Art in Berkeley. We connected right away, on so many levels. What a delightful, amazing person. Our friendship bloomed and continued when she lived in VT. We all had many great times together. I feel lucky my husband also knew her (he always loved visiting their beautiful place in VT); our daughter remembers Kato fondly in bits and pieces, like eating oatmeal together when she was little. Across time and distance, Kato has always been a presence in my mind and heart and memories.
Kato was a profoundly special and beautiful person. I found her to be so sincere and simpatico; wise, funny, delightful; so kind and generous, such a clear, simple, insightful and beautiful person both inside and out; a super creative and talented artist and a huge champion for the arts — including encouraging me whenever I struggled (often) with making and doing along with life’s many facets and responsibilities. Somehow she managed to be both alternative and traditional, a wonderful combo, weaving together past and present and future. I’m trying to distill the essence of Kato: she had a kind of purity and honesty of spirit — she was so authentic, accepting, non-judgmental. Yet she could also be steely and very brave in fighting for and against causes and ideals. She was so hard-working — she had so much to give. I always admired her amazing energy. Inspirational! She was unfailingly kind and supportive, giving and encouraging. She could cut to the heart of the matter. Kato had such a wonderful openness, which in turn opened things up for anyone who came in touch with her.
I feel so lucky to have been Kato’s friend. I cherish her friendship and memory. I’m having such a very hard time believing she’s gone, but she will always live in my heart. Kato left many gifts to all of us. Her spirit shines now, especially when I think how her work and her gifts will continue to touch other lives through scholarships. It’s good to hold onto those thoughts, when waves of sorrow wash over. I’m glad she’s no longer in pain, but will miss her so much.
Eva Scopino, New Haven, CT