SEDONA, AZ, February 15, 2018 — Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Gene Kirby Garrison with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Ms. Garrison celebrates many years' experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Artist, photographer, and writer Ms. Garrison has been honing her skills in the arts for much of her life. Beginning in her college years during the late 1940s until the present day, her many talents have continued to take shape, creating quite a career. At Arizona State University, in addition to the required courses, she studied Drawing & Perspective, Watercolor, Architectural Drawing and Ceramics. She earned a degree from Phoenix College in 1964. By that time Gene had developed her own idea of a curriculum. She didn't want to waste time on brownie points, that is, putting in time sitting in classes she wasn't interested in just for the credits. She wanted to discover her talents. Could she paint, photograph, sculpt and write? Yes, she could. She continued her studies at Phoenix College, then heard that Glendale College had an excellent arts department, so she enrolled there. She was not disappointed. She and her husband, Bert, enrolled in evening sculpture classes. It was here that she took a creative writing class.
She firmly believes that education should never end. She needed computer classes, which she found at Scottsdale Community College. Art workshops filled the gap wherever she went. Sedona Arts Center looms large in arts education. It's the first organization that she and Bert joined after moving to Sedona in 1999. Later on she jumped at the chance to take a Digital Storytelling class at Yavapai College in Sedona. It combined her main interests — writing a script, obtaining photos to go along with the story, and choosing music. It was a melding of all these talents. She created a four-minute presentation about the handicapped children which her art group taught every Wednesday morning at the local school, and a six-minute one about her own art career. At the final session the class gave her a standing ovation. She hadn't expected that.
She joined writers groups. One was the Professional Writers of Prescott, and another, the Sedona Writers Salon, which she belonged to for many years.
A freelance writer and photographer since 1972, Ms. Garrison has also been known for her 20 years of dedication as a feature articles writer for Carefree Enterprise Magazine, a contributing author to various magazines such the Arizona Republic's Sunday supplement, Arizona Days & Ways, ScottsdaleQuarterly, Arizona Highways, Roundup Magazine, Persimmon Hill, and Antiques World.
Ms. Garrison has a persistent feeling that comes over her when determination sets in. It happened one day in Phoenix as she and her husband, Bert, exited the Palms theater after seeing a short-subject movie about abstract painter Jackson Pollock. “I was fascinated watching him at work, and I liked his attitude. He didn't care that people didn't like his creations. I wanted to pour, drip and throw paint too. He was a definite influence.”
Her favorite job evolved because of another persistent “I-want-to-do-that” feeling. This was in the early 70s. While working for an attorney in Phoenix she heard that The New Dick Van Dyke show was being filmed near Carefree, Arizona on Thursday evenings. She called the studio for tickets. She loved every part of the show. As she and her husband, Bert, left the building she said to him, “That's what I want to do.” She made it happen. The next day she called the business office and, knowing that it wasn't the proper way to apply for a job, that's exactly what she did. She got the old, “Can you type and take shorthand? question. She cheerfully replied, “Yes, I can.” An interview was arranged and two weeks later she was walking across the sound stage as Assistant to the Script Supervisor.
The Garrisons moved to Cave Creek because of the show. After it moved to California, Gene was not at a loss for something to do. She had taken writing classes at Phoenix College and Glendale College. There was a run-down bar in the center of town that beckoned her. It had to be full of stories. The owner called the place “world-famous.” True, many famous people had been there, including Dick Van Dyke. “I sent my first article to the Phoenix newspaper, the Arizona Republic.
It was accepted in the blink of an eye.
I kept sending them and they kept buying them.
“Then one day I noticed an empty bicycle shop store, and remembered that an ad for it was still running in Carefree Enterprise Magazine. I called the editor to tell her. The next thing I knew, she was offering me a job. She had been reading the articles I written for the Sunday supplement.”
That career lasted for 20 years, a number that Ms. Garrison had established as the end of a career. During that time she wrote possibly 570 magazine articles.
The founder of Desert Artists, Inc., she is a talented painter and sculptor. Starting out in a jewelry-making class at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, followed by one year at Arizona State University, a degree from Phoenix College, and additional night classes, her artwork evolved substantially. It has been on display for many decades, and can be viewed on Fine Art America.com/genegarrison.com.
During that same spurt-of-energy time she began writing books. There was an admirable man in Cave Creek whom everyone knew. “One day when I saw Levi-clad Hube Yates walking near the elementary school I ran over and introduced myself and suggested that I write about him. I had a book in mind. A logical idea would be to write a chapter about him to see how it went. It happened. He was the storyteller and I was the writer. I literally became a publisher. I sent out letters to six publishers and received six rejections. I did not know that six rejections were not many. Hube had shared his life stories, and I had worked hard to get them in good form. I wasn't going to waste the effort we had put into it so it became self-funded. I had to call bookstores, take orders, send out bills and write PR. I did not like the business end of this project. Hube was a great help in sales. It didn't hurt that he was so loved that people lined up to buy our book, titled “From Thunder to Breakfast.”
Ms. Garrison wrote other books as well: “Widowhood Happens,” “There's Something About Cave Creek (It's The People),” “Javelina (Have-uh-WHAT?)” and “ARTISTS Of Sedona (1930 — 1999).”
During her tenure in the entertainment business, Ms. Garrison joined the Desert Foothills Community Theater as a Founding Member. She served as directors' assistant, stage manager, producer and performer between 1975 and 1995. “It was a hands-on education,” she said, “an exciting experience.”
She held membership in other organizations: Sedona Arts Center, the Layerists In Multimedia, International Society of Experimental Artists, Western Writers of America, Sedona Writers, and Professional Writers of Prescott.
Ms. Garrison studied for a year at Arizona State University, earned an AA at Phoenix College, completed coursework at Glendale Community College, and took an unusual subject called Digital Storytelling at Yavapai College in Sedona. She also received a Certificate of Graduation from the New York Institute of Photography.
She served as a contributing author to the book, “Cowboys Don't Do Lunch (The Photographs of Herb Cohen).” The book is due out in April of 2018.
She is most proud of her narrative art history book, ARTISTS Of Sedona, because it is a first. It dares to use a different style of writing. “I wanted to introduce my characters as real people with goals, ambitions, successes and bravery. 'Bravery, you say?' It does take bravery to become an artist.
“The most important person in my life is my late husband. Forever faithful, always supportive and helpful, he literally was an Eagle Scout, a Sea Scout and a Boy Scout Leader. We had two sons during our breathtaking 70-year marriage.”
Ms. Garrison has been featured in several editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the West and Who's Who of American Women between 1996 and 2011.
In recognition of outstanding contributions to her profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Gene Kirby Garrison has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
About Marquis Who's Who :
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.
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