A bit taken aback by the news of Robert Rauschenberg's death.

He lived here in Lee County, on Captiva Island, for the last 38 years, and while he had been in frail health, he still managed to be very active in the community and making public appearances. I had the good fortune of meeting him about a half dozen times, almost always at art openings, usually at the local community college that houses the Robert Rauschenberg Art Gallery. The last few times, he appeared in a wheelchair, but he made sure to make himself available to everyone, all at this so-not-New-York venue, and he always seemed touched when people expressed their praise and admiration for his work.

He also was extraordinary in his support for a local center for abused women as well as various environmental causes, and of course, in support of many fine young artists. He truly made a home here in Southwest Florida, a task of no small feat, as I continue to try to find my own ways of taking root. His graciousness has been a marvel to me. I know my friend Kat Epple, who collaborated with Bob, is remembering their friendship today, and I am wishing her all the comfort and peace that I know she is finding in those memories. She is one of hundreds that he has supported, been so generous with.