I have always been amazed by how often pain begets beauty. Sometimes horrible endings give way to a whole new world of extraordinary connections which inspire so many others.
Such is the case of the family of Dr. Steve Price and the young New Orleans artist, Gunner Dongieux. Steve’s son, Daniel, a remarkable young artist, who I knew personally, was murdered trying to protect his wife from a gunman in San Fransisco. Being a parent, I still ask how parents recover from such painful loss. One of the ways the family healed was to keep Daniel’s memory alive through his art and through helping young artists. They created the Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists. Every year an exceptional student artist from NOCCA gets funding to pursue a degree in art.
Some of that funding comes through an event they created called Home for the Holidays, a spectacular night of music and fundraising with some of the finest local musicians in the business. It is always held in December around the holidays, a time when many traveling musicians are happy to be home in beloved New Orleans. The tickets are getting harder to come by year after year as the event is now recognized as being one of the best nights for New Orleans music all year.
Gunner, this years Daniel Price Scholarship recipient has a list of accomplishments longer than his 18 years on the planet. His work is collected by many prominent New Orleanians and it has been published 29 times, including 13 paintings in the River Bend Review. He has four scholastic silver keys and certificate of Special Congressional Recognition to name a new of his honors.
Gunner’s paintings convey a sense of humor about our modern world utilizing a blend of pop culture and classical influences. Art teachers have told me that his knowledge of anatomy and composition are well advanced for someone still developing their skills in the studio.
For me, it is so heartening to see this young man fighting to have his passion recognized partnered with a family that turned such a nightmare into a wonderful creative memorial. This is the transformational power of art.
Gunner’s work can be found on his website gunnerdonjay.wixite.com/gunnerdongiuxart and you can also follow him on Instagram.