Jay Belloli’s smile was one of the first presents I received on arrival in the US, in a city as complex and labyrinthine as Los Angeles.
By Toti O’Brien
Often meeting him during an art opening—either at the Armory Center for the Arts, which he directed for more than 20 years, or in a Pasadena Gallery, Pasadena museum and, of course, within a much large radius, as far as the West Side or San Pedro—I was always granted the warmest of greetings, and that wasn’t mere courtesy.
It was sheer humanity. His approach to artists like me was kind, direct, personal. When he looked at me in the eye, I knew he was actually seeing me. I was sure he remembered me and my work, no matter how busy and overwhelming his practice had grown over the years. Unassuming and humble, his incredible knowledge and expertise notwithstanding, he would meet me on a simple ground of mere friendship.
Quiet, soft-spoken, there was more in Jay Belloli’s gaze than he put into his measured words. His presence will be missed. His memory will live on.
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