What makes great art? An artist? A gallery? The context of a movement? An arts education? A museum? A critic? Well formulated oil and carefully stretched canvas?

No. Not at all.

What makes great art is opportunity to tell the truth about love. What happens when this opportunity arises is all about you – the artist. Can you tell me the truth today? Or does this truth get told at magical moments, during powerful ceremonies, where language and custom tie us in knots? Again, it’s all about you.

The photos here are of a roadside memorial for Nick Bucher at 26th and SE Stark Streets. Nick was hit by a car and killed riding his biking home from work.

Fault means nothing. Look at his eyes.

His friends and family made an arrangement on the sidewalk where he was hit. Someone chained up a ghost bike with a blue ribbon, Very Special Son. Candles, notes, flowers have blown away. A mix CD tucked into a crevice survives, Eliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, Sigor Ros and others. A cross made of straw and another hung on a tree. Two pictures, one recent, handsome and sly, another fifteen years ago, a birthday morning, Nick’s first bike.

Later, his parents wrote a beautiful letter to everyone.

    Comforted by strangers
    Our 24-year-old son, Nicholas, lost his life in a tragic car-bicycle accident at Southeast 26th Avenue and Stark Street on Feb. 3.
    We have received a number of e-mails and letters from those who were there at the time. There were two girls driving behind Nick who would have gladly taken the hit instead of our son. There were those who lived in the area or were passing by who immediately rendered what aid they could to Nick. They comforted him and encouraged him to keep breathing until the paramedics arrived.
    These people did not know our son but gladly gave of themselves during his time of need. We sincerely thank all of those who were there and helped our son. We also thank them for letting us know that he was not alone during his last hours. We are grateful that there are compassionate and caring Portlanders in our city.
    BILL and PATTI BUCHER

Long thread with facts and opinions at Bike Portland. Keep safe.

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