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Archive for February 28th, 2007

Candelight Vigil in Old Town

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

There will be a candelight vigil to honor Robert Busby outside the Creole Gallery tonight (Turner Street near North Grand River in Old Town, Lansing) at dusk. Sunset is 6:26 so I will get there maybe 5:45 or 6pm. I expect it will be hard to find parking (it sounds like they will be closing off Turner Street), so plan ahead.

For those interested, there has been an update on the Lansing State Journal website to this story. More tragedy, but perhaps the hint of an answer. (There was yet another update to that same story around mid-afternoon with more answers.)

The State Journal is doing a good job of updating this story in near-real-time, check their online front page for related stories and comments. The seven photos of Robert, Meegan and the gallery on this page brought tears to my eyes. You can see his peaceful strength in every photo.

Too Sad to be True

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

I am sorry to interrupt this usually-optimistic blog with a discouraging post. I will be back again with color and cheer but this post must be written.

Robert Busby, owner of Creole Gallery in Lansing, Michigan, was found dead in his building Tuesday. This is too sad for words.

I have known Robert for 20 years. He was one of the classiest, kindest human beings I have ever known. He would go out of his way to greet everyone, and then he would ask thoughtful questions of us all. He would absolutely listen to each reply, never letting his eyes wander.

Sometimes I would go home and realize I never asked him anything in return… he had me answering questions about my own projects. He authentically wished to understand my work, and there was no conversation lag where I might have asked him a few things.

Robert was often called “The Mayor of Old Town” although there really was no such position. Nobody denied his leadership but he never raised his voice and never pushed, never bullied: a pure gentleman. I just loved being in the same room with him, even when he was talking with someone else.

Robert was one of the first to pioneer the renaissance which has happened in that corner of my city. I knew him first (in 1987) through his involvement with Two Doors Down Gallery and after that Otherwise Gallery and currently Creole Gallery… where he arranged the art exhibits and Meegan Holland arranges the concerts. Brian and I have opened for three concerts there over the years.

It is a place where wonderful people gather, where art (visual and performance/music) blossom and thrive. It is a place for community, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

My favorite story about Robert is when a mutual friend had moved out of town. She came back to Lansing and wanted to see Robert. He was not where she expected him to be. So she walked up and down Turner Street and Grand River Ave., calling out loud “Robert, where are you?” I don’t remember if she found him that way or not… but it is as likely as anything that she did. (The photo is Turner Street, the largest red brick building houses the Creole.)

Robert, may you rest in peace.