On June 12, one of Highland Park's most enthusiastic supporters of Arroyo arts and culture and a former gallery director at Occidental College, Hendrick Stooker, died at the age of 81.
On Wednesday, July 25, members of the community that Stooker dedicated the last 30-years of his life to empowering through his support of the arts are invited to attend a memorial service in his honor at the Highland Park Ebell Club.
Stooker was well known among the Highland Park arts community as a tireless supporter of young artists and a manwho thrived on building connections between his neighbors.
In 1983, he opened Alpha Contemporary Exhibitions at the corner of Ave. 60 and Figueroa Street. In its three years of operation, Alpha provided many budding artists their first public platform.
After closing Alpha, Stooker was hired as the gallery director at Occidental College in 1987.
"As gallery director at Occidental he had a lot of really interesting shows and he brought the community onto the Occidental campus in a way that hadn't happened in a long time," said Carol Colin, a longtime colleague of Stooker's who now runs a private art studio on Monte Vista Street. "He included local artists and also brought in acclaimed artists from across Los Angeles."
While at Occidental, Stooker continued to support the arts in Highland Park. In 1989, he became one the three founding members of the Arroyo Arts Collective, an institution that continues to this day in the mission of promoting local artists.
A lover of architecture, Stooker was drawn to Highland Park in 1980 by the area's craftsman and modernist homes. Shortly after moving to the Arroyo, he become on the first members of the Highland Park Heritage Trust
As a member of the Heritage Trust, he helped to put in place the Highland Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone in 1994. Highland Park's HPOZ, which provides guidelines for preserving and restoring historic structures, remains the largest in the city.
Colin said, even with all he's accomplished, Stooker's greatest legacy will be the joy he took in personally connecting with fellow artists and community members.
"So many people here knew each other because Hendrick welcomed them to the neighborhood and introduced them to other people. He would see someone in their yard and invite them to joint the Heritage Trust or, if they were an artist, to join the Arroyo Arts Collective, Colin said. "He just wanted people to know each other, he was a community builder, and he did it in the simplest way, by talking to people."
The Hendrick Stooker Memorial Service will be held at the Highland Park Ebell Club, at 131 S. Ave. 57. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with a program to begin at 7:15 p.m. There will be open mic time for anyone who wishes to share memories about Stooker.