Kent Rich LogoVibrant Expressionism & Urban Landscape Artist

In-residence Artist Finds Healing for Himself and Others

140 pounds lighter140 pounds lighter

Kent Rich thought he had a gift for counseling and practiced with the premier service, The Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. With a BA in History and minors in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Utah, he turned to Social Work for his Master's and then Post-Master's in Psychiatric Social Work.

Oh, he had a little interest in music---even played the violin, but Kent Rich felt fulfillment in his counseling. A colleague taught him that his patients might heal faster when they found expression in the arts, so with them he did some paintings for his home.

On a trip to Europe his wife, "Judy literally dragged me through the doors of the Louvre, when I really wanted just to sit outside and watch the people. I didn't care how long she toured the museum, but I didn't want to be in there."

However, sensing a transformation within himself while looking at some of the masterpieces, Kent "wondered what it was about art that could call out such a response within me---especially when I saw on canvas a man with three children grieving for his dead wife." Kent had been there, before he and Judy---whom he'd known since grade school, were married. That emotion compelled him to take pictures of some of the scenes around him on their tour.

Although he'd never before been interested in photography, Kent and Judy arrived home with quite an arsenal of photo canisters which he took to a local developer in Salt Lake City. Returning to pick them up, he heard across the room, "Is this the guy with the magic eye?"

That was his introduction to a world of photographic exhibits, for the questioner was lining up photographs for his international show and wanted to exhibit some of Kent's pictures to the event's curator. "I didn't even know what an art show was," he explains today.

Kent bought better cameras and enrolled in classes, "so I could learn to make better touristy shots," he says. Those tourist photos soon became known as great photographic art, displayed in numerous shows alongside the greats such as Ansel Adams. Now he has his own exhibitions of both photography and painting in such hall as the Light Impressions Gallery.

Along the way he studied violin at Julliard's School of Music, where Judy received both her BA and MA, even attending a seminar with Izaak Perlman.

Leaving Menninger's and turning to art full-time, Kent was not always careful about his lifestyle habits. His art took him to Telluride, Colorado, for example, where he was the named artist for the international jazz festivals.

Amy Conger, Art Professor, University of California at Berkeley and former art historian for the Institute of Art Chicago and for the Center for Creative Photography in Tuscan, Arizona commissioned two pastels and 27 drawings, stated, "No wimpy pastels from Kent Rich! His art is alive with spontaneity and color."

One of Kent Rich's Telluride jazz posters was enlarged to hang from ceiling to floor as an art piece in Franz Klammer Lodge, Telluride, Colorado.

A Denver Post feature on Kent with his picture appeared on the front page, above the fold, and dominated over President Clinton and the rest of the day's news.

But he was not healthy. And so his cardiologist suggested that he find healing at Weimar Insitute rather than go through another surgery. His first three-week program was so successful that he arranged to return for six months---painted 12 new impressions of life at Weimar for a calendar planned by Mark Witzel, former NEWSTART® Customer Service Director.

Painting was secondary to his walking, and he put himself on two meals a day---so determined was he to get his diabetes under control. Weight loss was a given.

Eight months after his first trip to Weimar and back at home in Salt Lake City, Kent has changed his lifestyle and his outlook. He goes to bed earlier, rises at 4 "for time to practice the second T of NEWSTART®," and then he walks seven miles.

What has it done for him? First of all, there are 140 pounds fewer of him; congestive heart failure is no longer a problem; no new attacks of gout have distracted him; kidney problems healed, his blood pressure is within normal range. "With my diabetes, though, being my priority, I'm delighted that my index is now 5.5."

He may not have known what an artist was---either with brushes or camera, but now he is one---and a healthy one! Because his next goal is to walk Utah, top to bottom, be on the lookout for a man and his dog, Brock, carrying his brushes and pastels so Kent can stop along the way to express his art.