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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 22, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 38
Art for a Cause - A Cause for Art
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Art for a Cause - A Cause for Art

The 50th Birthday Benefit Bash (Celebrating the Photography of Lee Forshey)

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

LEE FORSHEY'S
50TH BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH
(OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)
BLUE CONE STUDIOS
(1520 11TH AVENUE)
October 7 @ 6:30-10pm


How would you like to discover new art, attend a 50th birthday party, and help save a life at the same time? This can be done. Thanks to Blue Cone Studios the photographic art of Lee Forshey is being exhibited and is for sale. And as for being charitable, 100% of the evening's proceeds go towards the photographer's own 'Lee's Cancer Fund' at gofundme.com.

'I've enjoyed taking pictures my whole life,' says Lee Forshey. Approaching the age of 50, he sits in his small, downtown Seattle condo and smiles. Diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in September 2015, he hasn't let it get the better of him. 'I was diagnosed with cancer the first time about six years ago. I was in terrible shape,' Lee recalls. He found refuge and solace in short hikes, photographing the sights along the different trails in various places. Hiking 'became my gym and my church.'

Being diagnosed only served to move his dreams forward and the things Forshey always wanted to do moved to the forefront of his plans. One thing on his 'bucket list' was to go to Africa, especially the island of Madagascar, and see the lemurs. His photographs not only include the animals he encountered, they also include 'night and day shots of the scenery, insects, reptiles, birds, and amphibians. Everything listed and more,' Forshey promises. The photographs include a wide range of locations, with Madagascar and South Africa only being the start. 'Other locations include local hikes, Costa Rica, the Grand Canyon,' and Forshey's home of origin, 'Upstate New York.'

'Picture canvases are order-to-print in any size,' Forshey says encouragingly. 'They start at $30 and can go up to $145 depending on what size the buyer would like to have in their home or office.' And it's not just photographs that are available for purchase. Other items being offered in silent auctions include gift certificates from many local businesses all banding together to help Forshey out. 'We've got gift certificates generously donated by Machiavelli Ristorante as well as from The Massage Guy" and Excellent Therapeutic Massage,' Forshey says. 'We have tickets for Ragtime from the 5th Avenue, two novels signed by authors (including the award-winning Ursula LeGuin), a signed DVD documentary 'Christiania; 40 years of Occupation' and even CDs from Seattle's own Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme. Gift certificates to Twice Sold Tales will also be raffled off with $1 tickets.'

Lee Forshey moved from Upstate New York to Seattle in 1991. 'I fell in love with Seattle when I visited,' Forshey explains. 'I was going across country after I graduated college. I moved here a year later.' Shortly afterwards, Forshey met Donnie Duran, the man who became 'the love of my life.' They were together three years before Duran succumbed to AIDS. 'We shared a last kiss and then he died in my arms.'

Forshey started a career in 1999 with a company helping people get back to work, including being contracted to Children's Hospital and other local healthcare organizations to help keep their facilities fully staffed and their staff fully trained. 'At the end of 2015 the colon cancer moved to my lungs,' Forshey says. 'It's finally gotten to the point where my last day of work will be at the end of September, 2017.' It was from this point of view that Forshey decided to hold the benefit. 'I never dreaded turning 50,' exclaims Forshey. 'I don't want cancer either, but neither can be avoided.' This is why he is turning his 50th birthday into a celebration of life, friends and art. The GoFundMe campaign was started in late 2015 and was mostly contributed to by friends and family. The fund will be going to pay for Lee's living and medical expenses once the necessity of disability from work takes place.

'My goal for the evening,' Forshey explains, 'is for folks to come together. I want them to enjoy each other and the art I have to share.' Forshey hopes the event will launch the next phase of his life. 'I've wanted to have a mechanism for getting my photos out to a wider audience for a long time now, and this is it. I hope that this will provide an on-going income so I won't have to rely on public resources.'

Blue Cone Studios is owned and run by Carolyn Hitt. Hitt is generously donating the space for Forshey's exhibit. The evening will also include music by DJ Thad Wenatchee.

Those who can't make the event but wish to purchase Lee's photos on canvas can go to http://scenicfocus.com/ and those simply wishing to contribute to Lee's Cancer Fund may do so at: http://www.gofundme.com/leescancerfund

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