Durango patron sponsors artworks at hospital

Ingrid Mattheis is 82.

Years that is.

Sitting down with her in Durango was an enlightening experience: an example of how to live, how to be, and how to laugh.

Mattheis has sponsored three art pieces from the second Juried Art Exhibition at Pagosa Mountain Hospital. Her generosity is astounding, her ego small, her laughter infectious. Her eyes twinkle as she discusses her family, her past, art and traveling.

“I love art but have never spent money on it. My first passion is traveling, and that is where my money has gone all my life,” she said.

Asked why she sponsored three pieces for the Pagosa hospital Ingrid candidly stated: “Two pieces belong to one of my daughters, and the other is her good friend’s work. I didn’t want them to have to drive over to Pagosa again to pick them up!” Ingrid’s eyes danced as she said this. “I love art, and love this show. I want the hospital to be able to hang good artwork to help others who come here.”

Ingrid Mattheis was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She speaks five languages, and has traveled all over the world during her lifetime.

One of her recent trips was to Antarctica with her daughter, a four-week journey, with two weeks on ship. “Antarctica is beautiful. All snow and ice. The wildlife is fantastic. I feel very lucky to have seen it for I fear that global warming will soon destroy what we have experienced.”

Mattheis is highly intelligent, and possesses a keen sense of global awareness, whether in politics, the environment or social issues of the day. “In Switzerland they are now covering the Swiss glaciers with blankets in the summer to stop them from melting,” she said. “What a task. A fruitless effort don’t you think?”

Our conversation flowed like water, and embraced many topics. Our talks soon came back to art. Ingrid’s daughter, Lin Mattheis, is exploring photography, as well as creating bead works. Ingrid actively encourages Lin’s efforts and creativity, lending her emotional support whenever she can. “My daughter Lin and her friend, Kit, are thinking of venturing into eco-tourism down in Brazil. They have good ideas, and may one day spend half their lives in Durango, and half in Rio. Lin has asked me if I’d like to come along and live part of the year down there; but, no thank you: I’m staying put right here in Durango.” Ingrid’s strength, and sense of planning for her future are evident. “As long as I am healthy I am staying put.”

The Mattheis’ roots are still strong in Brazil, where the majority of Ingrid’s family still resides. “I’ll be traveling down there again in 2009, I haven’t been back to visit for about five years and am looking forward to seeing my son and my younger sister again,” she said. “She plans many family visits for me while I’m in Rio. I always make sure that I see everyone, family and friends alike.”

This world traveler was first married in Brazil, but lost her husband in a car crash. “My second husband was an American, and after we married, we moved to New York with our younger daughter. When my second husband died of cancer, I followed my daughter out west and we settled here in Durango. I love it here.”

Ingrid Mattheis’ zest for life is pervasively charming. Her pale blue eyes twinkle as she talks about her yoga lessons, Pilates classes, computer courses, and physical therapy for her knee. “Life is busy and I’m glad I could fit you in.”

Not as glad as I was, Ingrid. Not by a long shot.

The Pagosa Mountain Hospital Art Committee is deeply grateful for Ms. Mattheis’ gift of three art pieces. Sponsorships like Ingrid’s are tax deductible, and sponsors receive recognition in The PREVIEW, as well as having their names displayed on a permanent brass plaque placed next to the donated art piece.

Anyone interested in sponsorships may contact art committee chair Kathleen Steventon, 731-3029, treegirl@centurytel.net.

The current hospital art show will be exhibited through Nov. 18, and all the artwork seen is available for sponsorship.