Artistic Legacy Tom Nuzum’s Death Brings Extra Meaning to Auction

March 23, 2011

FLINT — For many local art buffs, Friday’s “Six Degrees of Cool” Cool City Art Auction is the chance to bid on some of the area’s freshest and most unique pieces of work while supporting Flint’s art venues.

For many others, this year brings the opportunity to get another look at — and maybe even purchase — a great artist’s last work.

“(The late Tom Nuzum) was an icon in Flint’s art,” said Jen Sikora, Buckham Gallery manager. “He was known for his very vibrant tints and textured canvases. He was also known to do many of his paintings around his Chihuahuas.”

Nuzum, an Ohio native who died last month at age 69, built his reputation in Flint as a professor of art at Mott Community College since 1973. His legacy also goes down as one of the founding fathers of Buckham Gallery, 1341⁄2 W. Second St., one of six galleries participating in t he Cool City Art Auction.

“I expect people will be here searching for his work,” said Sikora, explaining that the Buckham, as his home gallery, is honored to display and auction his pieces for charity. Sikora says Buckham currently has a large painting and four drawings by Nuzum, an artist who studied at the California College of Art.

The pieces will be available for bid at one of the city’s largest fundraisers in the arts scene. Buckham, The Greater Flint Arts Council, Art at the Market Gallery, Creative Alliance, Flint City Handmade and, new this year, Very Special Arts will auction off local, donated work in a night of art, live entertainment, drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Money earned at each venue with the silent auction and ticket sales goes toward its operating costs and bringing new, typically free-of-charge exhibitions to the area.

For galleries like Buckham, this fundraiser helps support the exhibitions rotated 11 months out of the year in the artist-run space established in 1984.

Nuzum, who worked to grow Buckham Gallery and fill it with some of its best-known art, has led many locals to consider themselves lucky to be a part of Flint’s art scene, thanks to his leadership and skill. Margo Lakin, who works at UM-Flint, remembers Nuzum as a talented professor and an artist celebrated by fellow artists, friends, students and family.

“He was a champion of the arts in Flint,” she said.

Nuzum’s work will be among approximately 150 pieces for sale Friday at Buckham Gallery, including the much-anticipated woodcut print work by Nancy Dash of Flushing, as well as the oil paintings on canvas by Tim Kranz, Sikora explained.

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