Artist Ginger Slonaker: the art of forging connections

Small World Moments

Some cities boast the largest ball of twine, or an endless mirror maze; but I felt lucky to live in San Mateo: we have Barbara Boschetto. Barbara was always somewhat of a local celebrity to me. She owned Living Peacefully, the interesting and quirky but humble shop downtown that my daughters and I would frequent. Every person who walked into her store, Barbara would greet with warm enthusiasm, talking and laughing a bit while they strolled through merchandise that too, spoke from the heart. Entry to the shop meant you would leave happier, more rejuvenated. It was a constant family favorite.

When Living Peacefully closed, I cried, so she held me and cried too until we were empty. That’s when I knew that Barbara wasn’t just a brilliant light of a person — we had a bond.

Throughout the next few years, we would bump into each other often. I’d just be shopping at Cost Plus looking and silly cards when I’d hear a familiar laugh and look up to find Barbara chucking at the same card I was looking at-which of course, would send both of us into another round of giggles and insight.

During this time, I was aware that life was hitting Barbara hard. She’d had cancer, and gone through a divorce and on the bright side landed on top with a place to escape it all — an apartment in New York, - I wasn’t close enough to be a confidant for her during these times, but I knew we were connected, and it pained me to hear.

Years later, at Le Cirque de La Vie, Kids & Art charity auction at the Palo Alto Art Center, I saw her again. She was a vision: vibrant, healthy, and striking in a bright red dress full of power. For this particular auction, I had donated a new painting, Toro, about being vigilant and being ready to defend personal choice. It is about consciousness and power. Without knowing it was my art, Barbara connected with the piece and placed the highest bid of the night to win herself the painting. As I watched her retrieve it , I was struck again by her red dress, the same red that strongly accented Toro. Somehow I knew that piece was perfect for her and everything she was going through, and was pleased she had it and proud to have been a part of making that happen.

Barbara had been working on a book. A funny book, a memoir, a self help guide for women. Based upon our bond, and her connection to my work, she asked if I had any pieces that she might use to accompany her words. As we compared work, we both were delighted, and not too surprised to find that the words and pieces fit like a tailored glove.

Barbara’s book, Hookers, Whores, and Housewives is now on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. She’s giving radio talks across the country, and I couldn’t be happier. When she returns, I look forward to continuing our constantly blossoming friendship; a stroke of luck which could never have been possible without the sparkling touch of Kids & Art: blending love and creativity in just the right ways.

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