A traditional fine arts painter, Susan Cooley-Gilliom was well known for her award-winning pastels and watercolors. Susan’s artistic talents developed through her family legacy. When she and her family moved to Auburn in 1984, they acquired the old Mt. Vernon Dairy and converted it to a sheep farm. Using her sheep’s wool, Susan initially concentrated on weaving and fiber art, following in her grandmother Marguerite Porter Davison’s footsteps. Mrs. Davison authored the “Handweavers Pattern Book,” a standard reference book on patterns which is still used by weavers throughout the world. Many of Susan’s early weavings were composed on her grandmother’s loom.
Susan Hanes Cooley-Gilliom died on April 12, 2003. She fought breast cancer on her own terms, as she did all things, and retained a positive and productive life to the very end. Susan’s spirit is carried on through the open space she worked to permanently protect, and her beautiful renderings of those and other natural environments, which continue to hang lovingly throughout her community.
In 2010 the Susan Cooley-Gilliom Artist in Residence and Teaching (ART) Program was established in Placer County through an endowed gift by Sue Cooley (Susan’s mother) and the Sky View Foundation. The program represents a lasting legacy to the beloved local artist and environmental advocate. The ART program develops and enhances the visual arts through short-term residencies and workshops taught by nationally established and highly-reputable artists who create in a range of media. Learn more about this year’s visiting artist.