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I have known and represented Steve now for over 10 years. During that period there have been many opportunities to get to know him personally. Several times he has spent a few days with us at the gallery in Stockbridge. These times have always been during special collector events, and Steve has been very generous in sharing his knowledge and skills both in glassblowing demonstrations and slide lectures. He is articulate, is rather humble, and has a great sense of humor. He has a certain charm, which I would almost characterize as “Old World.” He has that special knack of making people around him feel comfortable and welcomed. I believe that is because he is comfortable within himself. My favorite example of these qualities was the weekend Jim Schantz (art director of Holsten Galleries) and I spent with Steve and his family in Danville in May 2004. The occasion was the commencement ceremony at Centre College, where Steve is a professor of art. What made this particular commencement so special was the fact that Lino Tagliapietra was receiving an honorary doctorate. Lino and Steve are very good friends, and Lino has visited Centre College several times as a guest of the college and is much loved by Stephen’s glass students. Lino had brought his whole family over from Murano for this special weekend. From the moment Jim and I arrived at the Powells’ beautiful country home, we were made to feel very welcome by Steve, his wife, Shelly, and a number of Steve’s current and former students who were there to help out with the activities of the weekend. The presence of these students was evidence of the great love they all have for Steve. Our first evening was spent mostly in Steve and Shelly’s new swimming pool! It was already summer weather, and the pool was the perfect place to congregate. There was plenty of beer (despite its being a “dry” area) and a great barbecue. Throughout the weekend Steve and Shelly could not have been more hospitable. A game of pool basketball and later an Italian card game with Lino and his family are moments that particularly stand out in my memory. The next morning we attended a demonstration that Lino gave at the college. Although Steve and his assistants were an important part of the team that morning, never did Steve try to occupy the spotlight. Rather, he stayed in the background, keeping a careful eye on the demo and welcoming the guests, including the president of the college and his wife. It was very clear that this was Lino’s special weekend and that Steve’s only concern was that it be as special as possible and that all the guests have a great time. The weekend culminated with the commencement ceremony Sunday morning. Lino was one of three dignitaries to receive an honorary doctorate (one of the others was none other than Sandra Day O’Connor). Professor Powell introduced the maestro. Somehow seeing Stephen in his cap and gown made me see him in a whole new light. He became not only the friendly, funny, talented glassblower that I had known for years but a full professor of art at a respectable college. The party following the commencement was held at Steve and Shelly’s home. There was a huge tent and at least 100 people. Throughout the evening Steve circulated from table to table: “Did you get enough to eat?” “Can I get you some more wine?” “Wasn’t that a great ceremony?” Jim and I were a bit sad to leave this wonderful environment. Throughout the weekend Steve and Shelly were the perfect host and hostess of this unforgettable event. I left feeling an even greater respect and admiration for Stephen Powell, not just as a great glass artist, but as a human being. Kenn Holsten Holsten Galleries Stockbridge, Massachusetts A C O M M E N C E M E N T W E E K E N D 173 ...


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