Husband honors wife’s ‘talent, strength and courage’ with posthumous art show

For nearly 30 years, Mount Airy residents Andy and Michele Trackman loved, learned and created together, even when Michele went through two separate bouts of cancer that ultimately took her life in 2010.

To honor Michele as an artist, Trackman will be hosting the opening reception for the “Michele Courchene Trackman: A life of Art, Love and Healing,” exhibit at the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) this Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on display until Oct. 26.

The show will held inside MAAG’s Solomon Levy Gallery of Art, named after a beloved friend and mentor of the organization that also lost a battle with cancer.

“I wanted to do something that Michele could be remembered for beyond just her being sick,” said Trackman. “I wanted her talent, strength and courage to be displayed and for her to be remembered by the many people in the community who knew her.”

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On display, will be a wide variety of Michele’s artwork, including photographs, paintings, oils and watercolors. The collection includes pieces from her high school days in Connecticut through her final days, when she would fill sticky notes with “doodles.”

Of all the pieces, Trackman’s fondest memories are tied to his wife’s 36″ by 40″ black-and-white-photographs. The couple worked on them together for Michele’s graduate thesis. Trackman still remembers turning their first home’s bathroom into a dark room in order to develop the prints.

“It’s the show that perhaps she would have had if she had lived,” said Trackman. “The idea is not to show just what she went through, but to hopefully inspire people who are going through similar difficulties that the power of art to heal and to improve your life is there and very strong.”

The exhibit is free, but Trackman is asking for donations to help cover the cost of framing, matting and hanging the artwork via an Indiegogo site. The goal for the crowdfunding page is $5,000

Any additional donations will go to the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia, which provides support and resources for cancer victims and their families.

Arleen Olshan, who co-founded MAAG, views the collection as a celebration of Michele’s life. She jumped at the opportunity to display it because it aligns with the group’s mission.

“That is what we are about – highlighting and supporting Northwest [Philadelphia] artists,” she said. “We were thrilled that he came to us as a forum and when we went to see work, we were convinced that it was something that we really wanted to do.”


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