Romano Gabriel was an Italian-born carpenter and gardener who lived in Eureka from just after World War I until his death in 1977.
For 30 years he constructed a magical folk art garden in front of and around his Eureka home on Pine Street.
After Gabriel died, the Eureka Heritage Society gathered and preserved much of his work, now on display behind glass, visible all day every day at 315 Second Street. Since 2012, it has been maintained and presented by the Humboldt Arts Council.
Before visiting Duane Flatmo, we checked out Romano’s work.
No question – Romano was the real deal. Folk art, a visionary folk art environment.
The presentation of the art makes me a little sad. I get it – anybody can see it anytime and it is safe from the elements and thus guaranteed a longer lifetime. But, still, I thought i could hear the painted people whispering – “Let us outside. We can take it. Let us out. And where is our friend Romano? Where did he go? We miss him.”
I showed the photos to my friend. “Hearing voices now, are we? Dig what you are saying about the glass jail deal, but I didn’t hear voices the last time I was there. Pretty sure I would have, if you know what i mean.”
Okay – what about the art, the photos?