Pat was inspired by her high school art teacher to minor in art history in college (there was no major at her college). Her goal was to work in an art museum. But life and family needs intervened. After working as a social worker, an English teacher, and a health care planner, she obtained her PhD in history of American health policy, ending up in Galveston as a health policy analyst and grants writer. The day after she went from full time to part time work, she joined the Galveston Art League and began showing her photography at their gallery. Her experiences working with artists and visitors in the gallery led her to research early Galveston artists, resulting in the publication of Early Galveston Artists and Photographers: Recovering a Legacy (History Press, 2021). A lifelong fascination with mysteries inspired a turn from historical writing to fiction. Using the knowledge she acquired by volunteering at the Art League’s gallery, she has recently completed A Death in the Gallery, which is now out for editing and expected to be published one way or another in 2023. A follow-up, A Death at the Rookery, is already underway.
Early Galveston Artists and Photographers
Since Audubon visited Galveston in 1837, artists have flocked to the island, some just passing through and others staying their entire lives. But because the city remained remote from the nation's cultural centers on the east and west coasts, its artistic contributions were initially largely ignored. However, the recovery effort from the Great Storm of 1900 that killed over 6,000 residents and destroyed almost half the structures, spurred a new sense of local pride and civic determination. The Cotton Carnivals in the early 1900s attracted people from throughout the state, the city's artists united in 1914 to promote local art through the creation of the Galveston Art League, and photographers modernized their practices and documented the rebirth of the city and its culture. In the early 1920s, a new generation, freed from nineteenth-century traditions, started to gain attention both on and off the island.