Playing without a conductor

What do you do when you lose the person you love?

When Metropolis The Gallery founder Tony White died last month, his friends and workers stared that question right in the face.

Their answer?

Pick up where he left off, and remember him always.

Metropolis’ remaining workers vow to keep the business open and art hanging on the white and blue walls of the five-year-old gallery for years to come.

From 5-9 p.m. Friday Metropolis will ring in Bremerton’s monthly art walk with a special tribute, the “Celebration of Tony White.”

The Nov. 1 event will include plenty of music and art in his honor, though if he were around, he would never allow such an event.

He avoided self-celebration like a man running from a hornet’s nest.

Longtime gallery worker Kathleen Storey chuckles while recalling the time she suggested Metropolis add “The Tony White Gallery” to its storefront sign.

“No way,” White spat with a shake of his head.

When he started the gallery five years ago, he did everything there.

“He was the god,” said Storey.

“He made sure the art was hung to his specifications,” chimed in Dede Beckley, who has pitched in since the gallery’s beginning.

Metropolis is a co-op, where people pay dues each month to be members, and the money goes to cover rent and utilities. Each member contributes a couple hours of volunteer time here and there, from spackling and painting, to vacuuming the floor.

White was the anchor of the bunch early-on.

He arranged shows, organized staff, visited other galleries to make contacts and did the bookkeeping.

He also got his share of paint on his clothes, and he created fantastic window displays.

“At Christmas he just went nuts,” recalled Storey.

Last Christmas, he brought in a huge tree that touched the ceiling, and a golden goose, with gold banners and sheets of music interspersed.

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