The inbox seems a little quieter and the pages a little emptier at Telegraph HQ this week as we say goodbye to longtime contributor Stew Mosberg. Mosberg, whose 77 years belied his trademark fedora, strong handshake and straight-shooting charisma, died the evening of Mon., Jan. 7, in hospice care after only recently being diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Practically since the Telegraph’s inception, Mosberg has been a mainstay of our fare, churning out hundreds of stories on Durango’s arts scene, as well as going out on a limb to expose the more progressive and experimental artists in town. Often, the ink was barely dry on one story before he was off covering the next.
“The loss of Stew leaves a huge crater in the local arts community,” Studio & owner Tim Kapustka said. “He was a voice not just for the arts community but the artists themselves. And that’s a huge difference.”
Kapustka recalled how, when he was starting his contemporary art studio on Main Avenue eight years ago, he was met with skepticism. “A lot of people just said, ‘OK, well good luck,’” he recalled. But not Mosberg. “Stew flat out asked, ‘You think this is gonna work?’ I said ‘Let’s try,’ and he said ‘OK, good enough for me.’”
Of course, eight years later, Studio & is thriving as Durango’s hub of cutting-edge, thought-provoking, quirky, homegrown art.
But more than being a champion of artists, Mosberg had the ability to pick up on bigger and more experimental ideas of artistic expression that infiltrated our otherwise small town arts scene. Kapustka speculates this aptitude came from Mosberg’s Brooklyn, N.Y., roots.
“Stew’s from New York City; he was worldly,” said Kapustka. “He made sure a spotlight was shined on those things.”
Kapustka points to Mosberg’s coverage of such things as Durango’s 20Moons dance company. “That’s big city stuff. Stew got that,” he said. “He helped us all not only be better, but bigger.”
Before coming to Durango, he ran an alternative arts newspaper in Summit County. He moved West to ski before being recently sidelined with hip issues, although he often talked of getting back on the slopes.
Mosberg, who lived in Bayfield, is survived by his daughter, Jen Ortado, son-in-law Victor Ortado and granddaughter, Sydney Ortado – all of Bend, Ore. He is also survived by his girlfriend (and childhood sweetheart), Sharon Krinsky, who moved to Bayfield from New York a few years ago.
A fundraiser to help cover Mosberg’s hospice expenses will be held Jan. 28 at the Durango Arts Center. A celebration of his life is planned for the spring. (More info on this in upcoming issues of the Telegraph.)
In the meantime, favorite memories and Stewisms can be posted to his page at www.caring bridge.org.