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A reader writes … By Jacque Swerdfeger and Ginger Ryerson

February 23, 2001

Recently there was a nice letter on this page memorializing three Imperial Valley residents who had recently been taken from us. One was Jordan Mora.

We would like to touch on just one facet of his life in this column: his love for art.

Jordan was an Imperial Valley pioneer. He was born and lived his entire life here. He was an ardent art student. After his retirement he could be found most any day in Imperial Valley Art Association's art gallery, the Desert Galeria, painting or reading books on art history or instructional books or one of the art magazines. He loved art as much as he loved life itself. Through the years he took numerous art classes, including several at IVC. He always yearned to know more.

When he passed away, many among his family and friends sent donations to the IVAA in memory of him. As the money came in, we realized we needed to do something with these love offerings that would honor his life. We finally decided on an art scholarship in his name.


With permission from his family, we sold his art supplies and some of his artwork. Together we raised $3,300.

Knowing nothing about handling scholarships or grants, we turned to the Imperial Valley College Foundation. We invited Bill Thornburg to explain to us how the foundation works. It was eventually decided that IVC foundation was the best placement for this memorial fund. The foundation will not only invest and keep track of the funds, it will see that the interest goes where we want it to go: to an art student.

We will award our first grant (or scholarship, if you prefer) to a student this year. It won't be much, as it will only be the interest; the principle will never be used. This will assure us a permanent, yearly grant. It is not intended as an actual scholarship, where high grades are mandatory, but as an assistance to an art student or two attending IVC to help defray the high cost of art supplies.

This winter we took another look at this $3,300 and decided we needed to help it grow, so IVAA is offering for raffle a beautiful picture of Mount Signal. It is an original watercolor by local artist Mary Alexson. After the expenses of raffle tickets, all proceeds will go to the Jordan Mora Memorial Fund.

The framed picture is 20 by 27 inches, and may be viewed at Desert Galeria, Ocotillo Plaza Suite D, 1560 Ocotillo Drive, El Centro.

Mary is a longtime Valley resident and well known for her excellent watercolors. She recently held a one-person art exhibit at Pioneers' Museum. A number of pictures were sold. She teaches watercolor for adults most of the year at Desert Galeria. During the winter months she teaches at several of the local RV parks. She also holds two special art classes each year for IVC. Her work is excellent; her many local collectors will attest to that.

If you would like to help an art student … or if you would like to own this beautiful picture … raffle tickets at a $1 donation each are available from IVAA members. We will be selling them at our booth at Farmers Market, on Saturday in downtown El Centro. They also are available at Desert Galeria from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays (and any other time you may be lucky enough to find us open). You may order raffle tickets by mail by sending a check written to IVAA and requesting raffle tickets to: Ginger Ryerson, 1891 Santa Rosa Road, El Centro, CA 92243

Please enclose a self-addressed label for each ticket you wish to purchase. We will return to you your portion of the ticket.

The drawing will be at our regular IVAA meeting the first Friday in April. This will be at Desert Galeria (see address above). The meeting will begin about 6:30 p.m.

After Bret Kofford's recent public confession (or was it bragging?) about how lucky he is; how he wins everything, the lottery (I can't understand why he's still working), raffles (he only has to buy a couple tickets), etc.; rest assured we will not sell him any tickets unless he offers to buy double our highest purchaser! Thank you, GAFCU!

(This should net John Ryerson another hefty fine at Kiwanis! Sorry, kid, but it really is worth it! You can get even with Bev when you're president.)

JACQUE SWERDFEGER is president of the Imperial Valley Art Association and GINGER RYERSON is an IVAA past president.

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