Friday, October 14, 2005

Mary Chaney - Artist, Downtown Activist - And Friend - Passes Away.,0,7925423.story?coll=la-home-obituaries

Below is a note I received from a close friend of Mary's:

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Mary Chaney this last Wednesday. Mary was a long-time resident of Downtown Los Angeles and activist for the community. A life-long professional artist, Mary fought for the inclusion of arts representatives in the formation of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC). She was active with LAPD Boosters and CPAB, overseeing improved communications and responsiveness between residential needs and our police department.

Mary worked as a documentary artist sketching from life in the courtroom as well as the streets. Her courtroom work has been broadcast by ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC, KTTV and Court TV. She covered cases such as the civil rights trial in the beating of Rodney King, the Steven Spielberg stalking, the O. J. Simpson civil trial, the Richard Miller "FBI Spy" trial, the Richard Ramirez "Night Stalker" trial, and the civil trial of Philippine President Marcos' wife, Imelda.

Ms. Chaney exhibited her courtroom sketches and illustrations in several Southern California exhibits including exhibits at Loyola Law School "The Classic Courtroom Trial" and the Federal Rodney King case "Justice on Trial". The Los Angeles Sheriffs' Art Documentary featured "The Badge and the Brush" and "My Mom Is In Jail" illustrations.

Her work has been published in several law reviews and is included in the Smithsonian American History Museum, the United States Air Force Art Collection, and the Los Angeles Downtown Art District website. Her quick and astute skills in sketching rendered a small book of portraits of those attending the post-9/11 gathering at City Hall for a Candlelight Vigil, the drawings later acknowledged with gratitude of support by Mayor Giuliani.

Mary will be remembered for her quick humor, hard work for social causes, steadfastness of purpose, and inspiration as an artist. Her passing is a great loss to our community.

A memorial mass will be held at the St. Francis Xavier Maryknoll Church in the Arts District at 10 am on Tuesday Oct. 18. The church it located on Hewitt St. near 3rd Street.


At the top of the page is now the link to the LA Times article about Mary's life:

Dennis McLellan October 16, 2005

Mary Chaney, a Los Angeles courtroom artist whose meticulous and delicate drawing style provided local and national television viewers with telling glimpses of high-profile trials, including that of "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez and Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, has died.

She was 77. Chaney died Wednesday of cancer at her home in Los Angeles, according to her family. A commercial illustrator, Chaney launched her freelance career in the courtroom in the mid-1980s. Over the years, she provided sketches for ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, KTTV, Court TV and other news outlets.


Born in Los Angeles in 1927, Chaney graduated from Otis Art Institute, Chouinard Art Institute and Loyola Marymount University. While raising her family in Huntington Park in the 1950s through the mid '70s, she converted her large laundry room into an art studio, where she painted, sculpted and did sketches of her children and neighbors. She also gave painting lessons to adults.

Chaney, who lived more than 20 years on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles and could walk to work in the nearby courthouses, had a passion for the homeless and street people. She titled a series of her drawings of the homeless, which were exhibited in downtown Los Angeles in the '80s, "A Tender Dignity."

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