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Round Top Winter 2021

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– José Solís "He was a giant in helping define a truly Texas architecture and blazed a path for many architects to follow. To be with Clovis, you felt as though you were witnessing a mind of both towering intellect as well as childlike wonderment." dates and chain of events. The Herrings intro was a terrific ice breaker as were mutual friends, Barbara and Tom Solís, whose Ledbetter farmhouse the architect had restored. The vision that both Clovis and Maryann have for the beauty and meaning of rural life came through in our interview, as did their conviction, some 50 years into practice, about the value of community — and how creativity can spark a sense of belonging. Maryann said of their grand idea, "Do you know what's interesting is many, many years ago when our kids were little, we looked into where we could go on vacation. We never had any money at all. So, we drove our car all the way to New Mexico. We drove to Taos, and on our way home, Clovis said, 'Fayetteville could be like this. If we really worked at it, Fayetteville could be a place to attract artists, writers, people who would like to come.' And now we're seeing it — it's the dream happening right now. They're doing a beautiful job at the hotel. I really hope we can get this community center theater off the ground [Fayetteville Community Center & Performance Theater]. I think it will take a long time. But somebody will come along …" Our next trip to the Heimsaths, about two months later, which turned out to be our final interview, was for the photography session with Jack Thompson, capturing each of the couple's portraits, a bit of their domestic space, respective studios, and artworks — stained glass for her, and his paintings, which were an integral, grounding aspect of his lifetime as a creator. Recently, Clovis began a series of weekly watercolors, usually of birds or a compelling animal, which Maryann reproduced faithfully on beautiful paper to pass out on Friday visits to area nursing home residents. On my way out that afternoon, I inquired about a crystal talisman on their bookshelves, which Maryann modestly said was bestowed upon the couple in 2012 — the Clara Driscoll Award, named for the savior of the Alamo, a major annual honor made by Preservation Texas. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to query Clovis more closely on his architectural theories. Jerry Herring texted one Saturday afternoon in early October, with the concise message, "Please call about the Heimsath show." I rang up with a sense of foreboding, and Herring relayed the sad news that Clovis' health had declined quickly; he was in home hospice. The next day, Jerry called to let me know his friend had passed away that morning. He also said the gallery was dedicated Clovis Heimsath Country Place Hotel, now Grand Fayette Hotel Clovis Heimsath's Lickskillet, 1975 (Continued) 47

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