By Kamari Esquerra
John Pierce was known to many as a skilled artist and teacher, but to Linda Pierce, he was the love of her life. The couple moved to Palm Springs in 2014, full of dreams to showcase John’s unique, abstract artwork to the Coachella Valley community.
“We had wanted to do an exhibition here when we first retired here,” said Linda Pierce, widow of John Pierce.
Shortly after they arrived in the desert, John went to the doctor’s to get the results of an MRI for back pain, and received a life-altering diagnosis.
“Five months after we moved here, he was diagnosed with cancer,” said Pierce.
John fought an advanced stage of kidney cancer for six long, courageous years. He died on Oct. 27, 2020 leaving behind his wife of 25 years and a collection of unseen artwork.
“It wasn’t possible for him to do this exhibit in his lifetime,” said Pierce. “So when he passed, I really wanted to do this as a tribute to him and all of the beautiful work he had done over the years.”
Just over a year after her husband was laid to rest, Linda is making his dream come true, hosting the John Pierce Retrospective Art Exhibit at the Tim J. Leary Studios In Palm Springs.
“It was an honor to do that for Linda,” said Tim J. Leary. “(John’s) work is wonderful and it’s nice that there was an opportunity, something that he had hoped to accomplish that now is done for him. I’m very happy to be a part of that.”
The exhibit features nearly a dozen of John’s expressive, yet detailed paintings and illustrations with proceeds going to Stand Up For Cancer and Shriners Hospital For Children.
“That’s why I wanted to do this exhibit because this is a big part of his legacy,” said Pierce. “His legacy really is so large that it can’t be encompassed in words or even by these beautiful paintings because part of his legacy is he was just such a really kind human being. My main objective isn’t to sell the paintings necessarily, in fact, there are some I can’t part with.”
One piece most meaningful to her- a portrait John painted of her for her birthday in 2002.
“Oh gosh, it meant so much to me,” said Pierce. “Now that he’s gone, I just look at it and I just feel so full of joy and love.”
Linda knew her late husband better than anyone in the world and she hopes the John Pierce Retrospective Art Exhibit will give viewers a glimpse of who he was, not only as an artist, but also as a person, someone she describes as a ‘courageous warrior’ full of love and gratitude, even in the midst of his suffering.
“I would hope that they would get a sense of his heart and how much love and passion and joy he had,” said Pierce. “I know it gives him a lot of joy.”
Kamari Esquerra is an anchor and reporter for our broadcast partner, NBC Palm Springs