Coeur d’Alene photographer’s work to be featured in China
By MARC STEWART
Contributing Writer/COEUR VOICE
The man walked up to Beth Rich Brown’s pictures hanging in the Blackwell Gallery and began speaking Chinese to several other people in a group.
Rich Brown didn’t give it too much thought because people had admired her work before. Then a Chinese woman approach her and began to translate what the man was saying.
“He wanted me to submit my work for Photo Beijing,” Rich Brown said. “At first, I was thinking this wasn’t real.”
But it was.
Her work had caught the eye of the President of the Photographic Art Society for the country of China.
“They were taking a tour of the Northwest looking for artists,” she said. “So I submitted it to their organizing committee. They selected my work. Now I am going to China.”
An exhibit of Rich Brown’s work opened Oct. 12 at the Millennium Monument in Beijing. It will be on display there through Oct. 22 for Photo Beijing.
“I am totally humbled by this,” said Rich Brown. “It’s an honor. I am truly blessed. I am excited to share some of the beauty of the Inland Northwest with the people of China.”
Eighteen photographs from the Inland Northwest will be featured in an exhibit called “Carry the Beautiful with You.” The exhibit is inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
Rich Brown decided to move to Coeur d’Alene from Colorado about four years ago, to reboot her life.
The 47-year old had worked in real estate and the pharmaceutical industry. A passionate golfer and fly fisherwoman, Rich Brown fell in love with the region.
“I came to Coeur d’Alene on a vacation and when I went back, I knew I wanted to live here,” she said. “I wanted to focus on my photography and see if I could make a living do that. My friends had always admired my work and encouraged me to do something...”
She took her artwork to a couple of galleries, but was politely turned down. Then by chance, an employee of the Blackwell Hotel saw some of her photography samples and believed they should be displayed at the Blackwell Gallery, which is owned by a private investor.
“The rest is history,” said Rich Brown, who is the general manager and curator of the gallery. “It’s been an amazing journey.”
Rich Brown immersed herself into the community. Then she injected enthusiasm and energy to the gallery when she was hired last October.
Blackwell Gallery, 205 Sherman Avenue, opened four years ago and operated as a low-key art gallery next to Hudson’s Hamburgers.
“A lot of people didn’t even know this was an art gallery,” said Rich Brown, who has 35 years of sales and marketing experience. “The first thing I did was open the door so people could see we’re open — even during the winter months.”
Blackwell Gallery is carving its niche out of the art scene with a common sense approach to the business.
“We only feature local artists,” said Rich Brown. “I believe we’re the only gallery in the area that is all local. We have such amazing talent in the Inland Northwest and it’s great to be able to show that off to the public.”
And Blackwell Gallery is thriving year-round. Rich Brown said the payoff for her is seeing local artists’ works purchased and appreciated by visitors and North Idaho residents alike.
“A lof people are buying artwork for their homes, but we have shipped art to Dubai and all over the United States,” she said. “Our customers really want Northwest art.”
Photography is her first love. She still gets up in the early morning hours in hopes of catching the perfect light on landscapes.
“It’s so beautiful here,” she said.