Brugger bash honors poet laureate, young artist

Moved by his loss on Aug. 11, Jessie Brugger painted this portrait of the late, great comedic genius,  Robin Williams, the day after his death. - Courtesy/Jessie Brugger
Moved by his loss on Aug. 11, Jessie Brugger painted this portrait of the late, great comedic genius, Robin Williams, the day after his death.
— image credit: Courtesy/Jessie Brugger

Dick Brugger's three-year term as Auburn's first poet laureate is just about up.

That calls for an acknowledgement and a celebration of the great things Brugger has done.

The City of Auburn celebrates the Brugger bash at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 11, in the Council Chambers at Auburn City Hall, 25 W. Main St. Opening remarks are at 7 p.m. Small appetizers and refreshments will be provided.

"My wife has been contacting a lot of people to see if they want to come, and I'm looking forward to it," Brugger said last week.

Individuals may help celebrate Brugger's work of the past three years as they enjoy an opening reception for his daughter, Jessie Brugger, whose artwork will be on display in the City Hall Gallery during the month of September.

According to a City news release, in Dick Brugger's term as poet laureate, his work has heightened the awareness of poetry and shone the light on the many great poets who live in the area. As poet laureate, he has presented at countless City events and festivals, written poetry for cultural exchanges, participated in youth workshops and public events, had his poetry integrated into permanent public art projects, and written a monthly "Poets Corner" section in the Auburn Reporter.

"His energy and enthusiasm as poet laureate has allowed greater access to poetry and the literary arts," notes Mayor Nancy Backus. "We are so grateful that he was able to share his beautiful words with us for three years. I can't think of a better person to have been Auburn's first poet laureate."

Jessie Brugger, an award-winning artist who lives in New York City, had this to say about her dad, a former Franciscan priest and the founder of Auburn Youth Resources.

"Besides being a man who has dedicated much of his life to the people and community of Auburn, my father is a poet. My father is very much in tune with people. He loves people. He cares. I am influenced by his writing because he does not hide blemishes. He accepts and honors people for who they are. He writes about friends and strangers like they are family. To my father, we are all family. Each subject he writes about, a little bit of his self is there. He listens to people, and therefore is an amazing storyteller," she said.

Jessie Brugger is rapidly gaining a reputation for her outstanding, award-winning animation. Auburn Arts Coordinator Maija McKnight recently asked her to put on a solo show of her two-dimensional artwork at City Hall to coincide with the celebration of her father's work.

"I wondered what to submit to this show, and have decided to enter mostly portraits. I think I have fallen in love with people the same way my father has," Jessie Brugger said. "I am not saying I'm as good at portraying people as he is, but I'm fully interested in peoples' stories. The power of the human face is incredible to me. So many stories. So much can be expressed in the face, in a gesture, in a glance, in lines. I am interested in stories, but in a visual, non-verbal way."

Raised in Auburn, Jessie Brugger recently earned a master's degree in fine arts from The New York Academy of Art. In 2011 the New York International Film Festival honored her with an award for best short animated video.

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