In Memoriam: Marilyn LaGrone-Amaral

Nov 11, 2014

580227_3733149137374_1173146298_nNov. 10th: We are sad to report that the multi-talented, much beloved Marilyn LaGrone-Amaral has passed away. To honor her spirit and many, many talents, we are extending this feature of her photos and we wish to mention that some of her dolls will be on exhibit and for sale this Saturday at Cactus Gallery’s “Tiny Treasures IX” (details and photos below; they are fabulous).

Editor’s note: Marilyn LaGrone-Amaral is a poet, an author, a painter, a maker of jewelry, a dollmaker, a woman who knits, a clothing designer, a carver, and recently a photographer. She has kindly shared some of her images with us, as well as a few words…




I never took a photo until a few years ago….I started 4 years ago with my little point and shoot that was a Christmas present from my son Azul Amaral. He is a great photographer/artist, as is my late father.

Azul’s note read, “Merry Christmas Mom, it is time for you to just shoot and have fun recording your world.” I was so nervous, it took me two weeks to start—and then there was no stopping me.




















Copyright ©  Marilyn LaGrone-Amaral


I was raised in the perfect alchemy of the magical lore of the south in the Mississippi delta that spoke to me in ancient whispers on soft summer nights….and the very concretive realities of New York City that kept the edges of my instincts sharp….One of my greatest influences was my father.

My father was an exceptional artist and painter as well as a great spirit he was also one of the Tuskegee Airmen. I have inherited much from him. My mother was an educator and a pianist. I grew up embraced in and encouraged by the creative forces of my family that allowed me to explore, stretch and discover my creative “selves.” During my childhood and in my high school years, my father and I would share his studio, which was in our house in Brooklyn, N.Y. He carefully instilled into my young hands and my wild unblinking inner eye to really “look” and “see,” digest, and then execute with feeling and mood and to always rely on blood memory.

I won several scholarships at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn N.Y. in the gifted youth program. I attended Washington Irving high School and Performing Arts High Schools both in N.Y.C. I studied modern Dance and received a scholarship at the Martha Graham school…and was torn for years between the two art forms; until I learned how to let them complement and enrich each other in my work with movement, shape and balance. I graduated in the top quarter of my class with an Academic Art Degree from Washington Irving. I attended Ohio State University where I was an Art major and Dance minor, however I also attended the Juillard School of Music for modern Dance.

To enjoy more of LaGrone-Amaral’s art, please visit
Find LaGrone-Amaral’s hand-crafted items at


Cactus Gallery’s ninth Tiny Treasures cash-n-carry show and holiday sale opens Saturday, November 15th with an opening reception 3-7 p.m. The show continues through December 23rd. Cactus Gallery at Treeline Woodworks Showroom, 3001 N. Coolidge Ave., Frogtown 90039. Tel.: 323.801.8669. More info on Cactus Gallery’s Facebook page.



Marilyn's spirit dolls

Marilyn’s spirit dolls





Some of Marilyn’s other spirit dolls:








6 Responses for “In Memoriam: Marilyn LaGrone-Amaral”

  1. Nancy Meade says:

    Marilyn was a fantastic woman. She was one of the loveliest, kindest people I have ever known. I took pastel classes from her at the local library. She was so encouraging and was a magnificent artist. Her life was a work of art.

  2. Pia Van Doren says:

    I am at a loss for words…Learning of this news came as a shock to me. What an incredible listener, teacher, artist, poet and most of all…friend she was. I met her at The Taste of L.A. in the mid-80’s. She was a staunch supporter of the cast and crew, at the now gone “Hot Spot” called “La Cage Aux Folles” in West Hollywood, California. She was the greatest hostess at all of her gatherings, and was extremely talented in the arts of cuisine. She once told me, “Pia, I had a dream about you last night. I made a cake and you said, ‘honey…this cake is GIFTED.!'”. You, my dear are the gifted one.The emotions that are stirred by you artwork, and words will forever inspire me. Rise above and tempt the Universe with your talents. The world is diminutive without you. I love you, and will always keep the memories dear. We’ll always have Aruba. Respectfully, and appreciatively, Pia.

  3. Kat Ward says:

    Thank you so much for writing, Pia. Hometown Pasadena had a chance to cover some of Marilyn’s work and some of the shows in which she was exhibiting, to exchange emails and thoughts and ideas with her, and to share her images and poetry with our readers, but we are heartbroken that just as we were getting to know each other and planning to meet, she passed on. We’re sorry for your loss yet happy you have such wonderful memories of this very special woman and spectacular artist.

  4. Kat Ward says:

    Beautifully put, Nancy. Thank you for sharing.

  5. DragonBoy says:

    You put stars in my eyes and happiness in my heart.
    “Blessed is he who has much to say, and cannot be persuaded to say it”
    Love always.
    You were born with wings.


    Rest in peace my Sweet

  6. Kat Ward says:

    So lovely. Thank you for sharing. Marilyn was a beautiful, incredibly talented spirit.



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