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SAM REIN — IN MEMORIAM

By Raymond J. Steiner
ART TIMES Online August 2010

OVER OUR PAST twenty-six years of publishing ART TIMES Poughkeepsie artist Sam Rein has almost been with us from the start — in fact, he might even have been among our very first subscribers. An avid supporter of our mission to serve as a showcase for all of the fine and performing arts, Sam loyally attended our “five-year” outdoor parties — held in August on those years we had reached another successful “quinquennial” celebration of staying alive for just one more stretch — our first in 1989, the next in 1994, and so on. Sam would be there with his wife — and always with a big smile and those ever-needed words of encouragement to “keep up the good work!” His subscription check would come like clockwork, always on time, always with a few written words somewhere on the subscription form urging us to “carry on”. Sam, a dedicated painter who devoted his life to his own work knew, of course, just how important those words could mean to someone plugging away at a “job” that, very often, no one else could quite see the point of. Yes, Sam knew perseverance — and always stood in our corner, cheering us on the “fight the good fight”. It was, in fact, the “Sams” out there who kept us going — who still keep us going. Sure, he knew that he could always pick up a free copy of ART TIMES at Barrett House, or some other art venue in town. But Sam also knew that his subscription dollars helped support the free calendar and opportunity listings that we had in each issue. He didn’t have to make out that check — but he did, because he knew that what it represented wasn’t the money, but the message that his heart was in our purpose, that his heart was behind our efforts. Whatever “success” Sam realized in his painting — and artists measure that in almost as many ways as there are artists — he knew that those in the field of art — no matter what aspect it may take — are there because — well — often because they simply have no choice. As corny as it sounds, devoting your life to art — as Sam had done — is a labor of love, pure and simple. He knew that it wasn’t the number of dollars that his paintings brought in — they helped, of course — but the number of smiles his paintings might bring to his viewers. He knew that no amount of dollars could ever equal the real worth of a work of art; he knew the difference between cost and value. How do I know this? Well, back in March when I gave a talk on criticism at Barrett House (Sam was a member of that organization, had a solo show there only a few short months before my talk), Sam couldn’t make it to the lecture, but made sure that I was made aware of his regrets for missing it — as I said, he always made it a point to make an appearance to support us. I was told that he was sick, but I really didn’t know just how sick he was until some weeks later I’d heard that he was in the hospital. He not only left a message for me, though — he also left me with a gift. Sam presented me with one of his still lifes. Pleasantly stunned, I immediately wrote him a letter of thanks and appreciation, letting him know that his painting was now gracing my dining room. Recently, we learned from his daughter Marcy, that Sam passed away in early June — and that we should “cancel” his subscription. Though we may be able to do that, there is no way that we can ever “cancel” the Sam Reins of the world — nor would we want to. Sam and his like are all too rare gems in this world. How wonderful that we now have a permanent memento of his years of loving support.