By Mary Alice Murphy
What is Serenity House? It's a bed and breakfast that used to be called the Inn on Broadway.
The new owner is Rebekka VanNess, and she has grand ideas for the facility.
The sculptor, Patrick Liam Sullivan, works in stone primarily, although he also paints, and one of his paintings, "Four Directions," can also be found at Serenity House.
Sullivan has completed more than 20 public pieces in stone, including ones along Route 66 in Oklahoma. In gallery and studio work, he has completed several hundred sculptures in stone. Although he sometimes uses pneumatic or electric tools, he prefers to do as much hand carving as possible. He describes is art as lyrical symbolism; "the power is in the stone."
How did this sculptor and VanNess connect? VanNess said: "Miracles have happened ever since I decided to take this leap and purchase this wonderful house."
Sullivan lives in the same town as VanNess's father, and they just happen to play softball together. "I saw Sullivan's work and I decided I wanted to show it in Serenity House," VanNess said.
A stone sculptor for more than 40 years, Sullivan has exhibited in places from British Columbia, to Utah, Nevada, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Germany. He is also Cherokee and said he has three nationalities. "American first, Canadian and Cherokee."
In 1980, he attended the International Stone Sculpture symposium in Lahr, then-West Germany, and created public art from stone along with 25 other international sculptors. He completed a sculpture "The Symbol" from a three-ton block of Carrera Marble from Italy. The hand-carved piece is permanently sited near Lahr City Hall. It was the first public sculpture in Europe by a Canadian-born artist. His awards are many, most often in juried exhibits.
"I'm honored to be here," Sullivan said. "I have a connection to mining. When I was 19 or 20 years old, I took a summer job in the largest copper mine in the world—the Grand Duc in Alaska. I also worked on the railroad sleeping in box cars and working during the day."
Sullivan also has a connection in Silver City, as one of his pieces has been placed in the Gardens near Light Hall at Western New Mexico University.
He now lives near St. George, Utah, where he met VanNess's father. "We play competitive senior softball. I also love hiking and backpacking. I have done a lot of sculptures from found stones."