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Posted: 07/30/14

SAC remembers local artist
with solo exhibition

Observer Staff Writer
      The Starkweather Arts Center is honoring the memory of one of its founding members and artists with a solo show.
       The center is presenting "Remembering Paul Kurily," a show featuring the artwork of the late Washington Township resident, from Aug. 1 to 22.
       An opening reception will be held 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 1.
       Kurily, 88, passed away on April 9. He was a Wayne State University graduate and served in the U.S. Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
       When he returned home, he worked as a designer for the automotive industry for 52 years before retiring. He and his wife, Dolores, married in 1984. Both were influential in forming the Washington Art Guild, Starkweather Arts Center and VFW Settlers Post. He and Dolores, an art teacher, owned and operated the Romeo Art Studio on Van Dyke together for almost 30 years.
       She said she is honored that Starkweather is holding a show to display Kurily's work.
       "I'm very proud and pleased that his work is being recognized as unique art," she said. "Paul would be very honored at the request for this showing of his artwork."
       Grace Venet, Starkweather Board secretary, said the Kurilys have been regular contributors to the art center's gallery and art shows, so it was only fitting that they remember Kurily with his own show.
       "There is a lot of emotion in his work, a lot of feeling in it," she said.
       Dolores Kurily said her late husband's work was more realistic compared to her impressionistic style. His main mediums were oil, watercolor and pastels.
       "People always say they know his paintings because they have movement," she said.
       He liked to include figures in his works and enjoyed painting lighthouses, waterfalls and sunflowers.
       "He was a fast painter, because he had to work fast when he used to be a dye designer," she said. "He would sit and work on a watercolor for an hour-and-a-half, then say `well, I'm going to let that dry' and move over to this chair and work on an oil painting for three hours."
       Nine portfolios of Kurily's artwork were submitted to the art center for the show. The painting featured in the show's promotion of a man and woman kissing while dancing is one of her favorites.
       Dolores Kurily said even on the day he went to the hospital, her husband painted, played the piano and even exercised.
       "He painted almost one a day," she said.
       She said they opened the Romeo Art Studio in part because he didn't want her to have to put her art away every night. They bought the former sign painting shop a mere two hours after viewing it.
       Inside the gallery hangs a number of the couple's paintings, while the ceiling is decorated with posters they collected from various galleries and art shows. Dolores Kurily said she has yet to touch his workstation, which still holds finished and unfinished paintings and immaculate brushes.
       "He would be the first to admit he was a very messy painter, but that's okay because he was so quick," she said. "He was scrupulous about keeping his brushes clean."
       She said when students were in the studio painting, he was known for walking around and giving them positive criticism on their works.
       "He didn't look at a piece and say `oh my God, why did you do that,' he would always compliment them," she said. "He had a genuine interest in what the students were doing."
       Friends, family and former students will be on hand to help celebrate Kurily's work and life at the opening reception. The reception will include refreshments for guests.
       The Starkweather Arts Center is located at 219 N. Main Street. For more information, call 586-752-5700 or visit

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