Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

In Remembrance: Kato Jaworski, Colleague and Friend

It is with great sadness that we inform you that we have lost a longtime friend, creative artist and admired colleague. Kato Jaworski, our Studio Art Director, passed away on Sunday, December 28, 2014 after a serious illness. She will be dearly missed by her family, friends, and the artists, students and colleagues she touched at the Richmond Art Center and others in the Richmond community.

We count ourselves extremely lucky and honored to have known Kato since she became part of the Center in 2005. Her incredible energy, boundless enthusiasm and welcoming spirit permeated our hallways and flowed beyond our walls into the community. Kato was a natural leader, a passionate community builder, an inspiring artist and teacher, and a trusted friend and colleague.

Under her leadership this past decade, thousands of adults, teens and children from all across the Bay Area came to the Art Center to experience our engaging art programs. Knowledgeable and inspiring as an arts administrator, Kato designed most of our current studio classes and workshops, building a unique community of artist instructors along the way. Kato also conceived Skeletonfest and Upcycle, our free art-making events for families, and helped develop our art tours for K-12 students. The vibrancy of so many of our programs is due to Kato’s extraordinary commitment and generosity and unwavering dedication to ensuring art remains accessible, affordable and fun.

Kato was also an accomplished artist. She earned a BA in studio arts from UC Santa Cruz and an MFA from Johnson State College in conjunction with the Vermont Studio Center. Her paintings, drawings and installations were shown in numerous group and individual exhibitions in California, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. Before working at the Richmond Art Center, Kato served on the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission and the Public Art Advisory Committee.

Throughout her life, Kato’s work touched the lives of so many people. Besides teaching at the Richmond Art Center, Kato taught children and adults in the Bay Area and Vermont, including locally at Arts Benicia and School of the Madeleine Elementary. Over the years, she mentored numerous interns, assistants, teens and young adults seeking a career in the arts.

Kato’s contributions to the Art Center and the Richmond community will be enjoyed for generations to come. Her eternal optimism will continue be an inspiration for all of us at the Art Center.

To commemorate her extraordinary life and her contributions, the Art Center and her family have set up 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.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, February 15 at the Richmond Art Center.

Memories of Kato: Colleagues and Friends Remember Kato Jaworski

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.
With love,

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.

Photo by: Ellen Gailing

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 her artwork

Kato and her artwork. Photo by: Ellen Gailing

Contributed by: Cheryl Bowlan

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


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Richmond, CA 94804-1600


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