FLEMING RAY FROST Co-founder of the Robert Kidd Gallery in Birmingham, MI, died Monday, April 16, 2012. Born and raised in Albany, Georgia, Ray moved to Michigan to earn his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. It was there that he met his life partner Robert Kidd. Both men went on to become noted studio artists before opening their prestigious contemporary art gallery on Townsend Street in Birmingham in 1976. The gallery continues in its original location to this day. Ray Fleming will be long remembered, not only for his life-long passion for the arts, but for embracing the breadth of life with unique vision and perception, with enthusiastic good humor and with kind-hearted friendliness. Ray is survived by numerous friends, including his best friend Ben Kiehl, Director of the gallery. A private memorial service will be held later. Memorial gifts may be made to the Cranbrook Academy of Art, for the Ray Frost Fleming & Robert Louis Kidd Scholarship Fund, 39221 Woodward Ave., P.O. Box 801, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-0801. A.J. Desmond & Sons, 248-549-0500.
From The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press
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Not only was he the best art teacher one could ever have, but also the best possible colleague and friend during his professor years. I'm so sorry to read of his passing.
I studied painting under Ray in the 1960s. The story that amazes me most and exemplifies Ray's enthusiasm toward art was the night he took the stage at a Mercy College auditorium and gave a demonstration of how to create an abstract painting in real time. Starting from a very large blank canvas Ray conducted his demonstration with energy and humor communicating to the audience the language of plasticity, moving colors around, focal points and more importantly inspiring them with his love and enthusiasm for art. The art world will miss him.
We will miss this great man who brought so much art and affection to our community. "Catch a big fish Ray!"
Ray was a good friend in summers in the Keweenaw Peninsula. He played in our bridge club, and had a great sense of humor. We will really miss Ray!
I worked in Bob and Ray's house and then their gallery for five years as their office gal and have nothing but fond and happy memories of them both. Ray and I kept in touch even though I moved away over thirty years. They were both great friends to me.
I was so saddened to hear of Ray's passing. Ray was a great mentor in teaching me the art business. He and Bob were visionaries of the art world in Detroit. Together they designed one of the best gallery spaces in the world. It was a pleasure and joy in my life to have worked with Ray. He was also a very accomplished painter. Most importantly, Ray was a kind and warm man. Todd Walker
I have known Ray/ "Buddy" since our undergraduate days as fraternity brothers and Art majors at Mercer University in the early 1960's. He was not only a gifted painter and teacher, but a valued lifelong friend. Some of my fondest memories are of Buddy; in Macon, New York, Orlando, etc. I will miss him. Phi Alpha brother!
Ray Fleming was my best friend for many years in Birmingham/Bloomfield, MI...We both loved our friendship...and had lots of good times together...I will think about him until my demise...