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Memorial Service to be Held for Hendrik Stooker at Ebell Club

Community members are invited to the ceremony to celebrate the life and contributions of Stooker.

On June 12, 2012 one of Highland Park's most enthusiastic supporters of Arroyo arts and culture, Hendrik 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 Eagle Rock 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 Hendrik 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 Hendrik Stooker Memorial Service will be held at the Highland Park Ebell Club, located at 131 S. Ave. 57. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with a a program to begin at 7:15 p.m. There will be open mic time for anyone who wishes to share memories about Stooker.

Nina Zvaleko July 19, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Actually a question, Is he the gentleman after whom folks would like to name the new park coming at York and Avenue 50?
Monte Vista Neighbor July 19, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Yes, he is.
Mark Verrillo July 19, 2012 at 08:41 PM
In the brief time I knew him, no one did more for me as an artist here in Los Angeles than Hendrik. The article above is an excellent tribute to him and accurate picture of how I will remember him. Mark Verrillo
edem July 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM
An truly excellent fellow. Met him through Grayson Cook (R.I.P.). I very much enjoyed my time and art discussions with him. He will be sorely missed by the NELA Art Community. Long Live Hendrik!
Linda Golant March 29, 2014 at 06:37 PM
I can't stand joining websites, but adding to comments about Hendrik Stooker more than justified it. I have no idea of what shaped him in his early years. All I know is that at the time I knew him, he had become as close to a perfect human being as I had ever met. His mind, emotions, and general way of being in the world was as fresh, open, and untainted as a newborn, yet no one could deny his intellectual chops. He never looked at art as either successful or unsuccessful, glorying instead in the process of the creative expression. No bad art, no bad artists, no untalented onlookers - just welcomed participants united in an ongoing artistic journey. Hendrik never promoted, but it was impossible to not become swept up in the irresistibly enthusiastic atmosphere he created bringing even the most challenged mind to a deeper, richer artistic experience. I owe him so much and will never forget this rare and wonderful man.

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