The Dorsey Family "Homecoming"
Friday, October 3rd 2014 may seem like it’s just going to be your average First Friday, but for one family it holds an artistic homecoming that has been in the making for the better part of a century. The year of 1877 saw the birth Fanny Y. Cory, who at the age of 18 attended the Metropolitan School of Fine Arts in New York City. Mrs. Cory became very well known in life for her work in the Little Miss Muffet comic book, her illustrations in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for both her art and writings in the Sonny Sayings comic strip which appeared in the Indianapolis Star, and for her watercolors work entitled “The Fairy Series.”
Having married Fred Cooney in 1904, the two moved to Helena, Montana where they raised three children. The Cooneys stayed in Montana until the early 1950s when they uprooted themselves and replanted their family farther west on Camano Island off the coast of Washington.
Two generations later, a granddaughter named Ann Cory took her first breath. As she grew up watching her grandmother paint and illustrate, Ann was privileged from an early age to hold dear a well-cultivated love for the visual arts. She became an active member in her family’s painting club (known to them as “The Grunt and Groan Club”), and went on to marry a well-known Northwestern watercolor artist named Jack Dorsey.
Jack Dorsey is a Washington State native, the now former president of the Northwest Watercolor Society, and a past member of the Puget Sound Group of Painters. He worked as a full time artist from 1969 to 1979 until he went to work at the Boeing Company as a technical illustrator. After sixteen years he returned to the art scene and continues to paint to this day in the pursuit of capturing something common to experience, but uncommon to expression.
Together, Jack and Ann Dorsey raised three children, each of them endowed with the artistic inclinations of their parents.
Jason Dorsey, their firstborn, discovered his gift for painting in watercolors when he was 16 and placed in the top seven in a statewide high school art contest. By the age of 24, he had been accepted in many national watercolor exhibits. In 1993, he put down his brushes, moved to Chicago and completed seminary at Trinity Theological Seminary. Since then, the now Reverend Dorsey’s art has been woven into his ministry as a pastor.
April Dorsey (now Nelson), the second born in the Dorsey clan, to this day continues to enjoy using the spectacular natural surroundings of her Camano Island home as the subject matter for her artwork. Her inspiration comes, in her words, “from lowland marshes to the rising Cascades, and from the golden fields to the tall cedars” of her home. Her desire, like Claude Monet, is to “paint as the bird sings.”
Jed Dorsey, the youngest of the Dorsey children, grew up in his family of artists, and sold his first painting in the Dorsey’s small art gallery at the Stanwood/Camano Fair for around ten dollars. Throughout his life, he has had many loves spanning from football to basketball to baseball. His love for music grew when his mom surprised him with a guitar his senior year in high school, and his love for his wife Renae continues to grow to this day. It wasn’t until 2001 that Jed felt his family’s artistic legacy calling him back to the canvas when he and Renae took a vacation to British Columbia. He has been painting acrylic wonders ever since.
Through the antics of her character, Sonny, Fanny Cory laid the foundation in Indianapolis for a Dorsey family reunion of sorts; it is an artistic reunion over a century in the making. And while it is true that both Jason and Jed now call Indy their home, this city was an honorary home for their family even before Jack and Ann brought the Dorsey boys into this world. October 3 brings with it a glad fruition for the Dorsey family, and a real treat for all of us!
The work of the Dorseys will show in Gallery No. 2 beginning Friday, October 3 through October 31.