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Great Gifts to El Paso: Annabel Livermore

January 29, 2013
Great Gifts to El Paso: Annabel Livermore

An El Paso sunset, a vanilla milkshake, and a plate of green cheese enchiladas were all Annabel Livermore needed.

“Never having crossed the Mississippi, I planned to travel west to see for myself the cross streets of Hollywood and Vine,” she said. However, when her Greyhound bus made a stop in El Paso at sundown—and after a hearty plate of green cheese enchiladas and a vanilla milkshake—she was hooked. “Much to my surprise…I found myself utterly captivated by this city, and I do mean utterly and inexplicably…the mountains and desert air must have had something to do with it.”

Her paintings—poignant, evocative, and transcendent—capture the beauty of the region. “My paintings are never planned in my head, but swell from my bosom. It is a mysterious process, delicate as a flower petal,” she said. “Yet surely there are innumerable influences, such as a plate of green cheese enchiladas, friendships, music, and artwork before my lifetime.” Annabel’s work can be seen on display throughout the United States. Public collections, to name only a few, include: The Barrett Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, Arizona State University, the Museum of Art at the University of Oregon and, of course, the El Paso Museum of Art.

Years ago, Annabel had an assistant who, on a bi-weekly basis, was sent to the old psychiatric ward of Thomason Hospital. It was during these visits that she noticed the rooms were “needlessly dreary.” She proposed to the hospital an endowment to provide patients and workers flowers once a year. Since her art is inspired by nature and beauty, it only seemed right to symbolize her gift to the community in nothing other than fresh flowers.

From this initial gesture, she moved to broaden her gift by partnering with the El Paso Community Foundation to establish the Annabel Livermore Fund. Her dedication to the fund not only resulted in fresh flowers, but the construction of a hospital chapel where people can escape to seek solace. The chapel, now located at the University Medical Center of El Paso, was painted by Annabel with iconography that encapsulates her worldview. By establishing her fund with the El Paso Community Foundation, Annabel partnered with the most dynamic organization in El Paso to give back to the community that embraced her with open arms.

Annabel’s Great Gift to El Paso is two-fold: First, her profound respect for the beauty of the area is immortalized in the brushstrokes of her paintings—proudly on display throughout the region and the country. Second, the Annabel Livermore Fund, through the El Paso Community Foundation, spreads the delicate beauty of a flower and the simple warmth of goodwill to those ailing in the city. “I believe we live in a holy place, one that spans both the Old and New Testaments,” she said. “One that is no stranger to tribulation, but which is hallowed ground, nonetheless.”