Calling on three of her friends to help, Gotsch set aside her money to what is now the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation. Gotsch, a former KSJE Public Radio personality and author, died on July 15, 2012, from cancer. She was 64.
On Saturday, Gotsch's friends and artists from around the community came together for a gala at Farmington Museum at Gateway Park to celebrate the official beginnings of the foundation.
Mick Hesse, the president of the foundation's board, announced that scholarships and grants will be available for San Juan County residents.
"Connie was very adamant about having her estate stay here in San Juan County," Hesse said.
Hesse said when Gotsch moved to Farmington, it was known primarily for gas and oil. However, since then, the arts community became more prominent.
Gotsch was the author of several books, ranging from a children's trilogy about a dog to mysteries. On the day she died, she penned the last few words in her final book, "Belle's Challenge," which completed the trilogy about the dog. Those books are currently for sale and proceeds from the books go to supporting the foundation.
Several black and white photographs Gotsch took are also for sale at the Farmington Museum. Proceeds from those photos also benefit the foundation.
Gotsch is probably best known for her classical radio program, "Roving With the Arts," in which she featured mainly local artists. One day, she had Cathy Pope and Hans Freuden, members of local string quartet, on the show. Gotsch proceeded to — without warning — ask Freuden what it was like to play with Pope.
"Connie had a wicked sense of humor," Pope recalled.
P.J. Gillen, a local actor who knew Gotsch, was one of the many attendees at Saturday's gala.
Local theater productions will be one of the areas the foundation's grants will help support.
Hesse said the board will review and consider every grant and scholarship application submitted. He said he is certain they will be surprised by some of the art forms. For instance, board member Luke Renner is a yo-yo artist.
"The beauty of the organization from our perspective is we can consider things like yo-yos," Hesse said.
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