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Amazing Talent Artist’s Work Remembered In Special Benefit Show

Anne Heitner Washington drew wherever she could as a child, doodling in the margins of her school books, once drawing a perfect line of horses on the bathroom wall.

She grew up to become a gifted artist, creating hundreds of illustrations for The Spokesman-Review during the last eight years.

Now her richly diverse legacy of art will go on sale Wednesday to benefit those she loved most, her three children.

Washington’s friends and colleagues at The Spokesman-Review will sponsor an art show and sale of 140 of her illustrations at Chase Gallery in Spokane City Hall.

Washington’s award-winning illustrations have appeared primarily in the IN Life section of the newspaper. She became a full-time staff artist at the newspaper in 1992. She remained here until her death in May of cancer at age 46.

Washington’s work appeared under the pen name A. Heitner. Her pieces still reappear occasionally in the newspaper.

She was known as a quick, talented artist whose heart and sweet humor shone through most of her best pieces.

“In my mind the show is a way to pay tribute to her because her work was so good,” says John Nelson, the design editor who hired Washington and friend. “Not everyone knows how good she was.”

Nelson admires the artistic merit of Washington’s work. “It amazed everyone,” he says.

Washington was known for her delightfully whimsical cartoons of picky eaters, wide-eyed country singers and sushi-loving samurais. She drew portraits of opera star Thomas Hampson and Reba McEntire, and touching pastels of mothers and babies.

“She’s very versatile in her style,” says Holly Hope, owner of Madkat Gallery, which is also sponsoring the show. “She could do everything from very serious pieces to cartoons.”

The sale includes a number of humorous pieces tied to the holidays or revolving around food and the kitchen, which sponsors believe will be purchased as gifts.

“It’s art that as much fun to live with as Anne herself,” says Hope.

The opening show and auction begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday. It will continue Nov. 14-15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Any remaining pieces will be displayed and sold at Madkat Gallery in the Flour Mill.

Proceeds of the sale will benefit Washington’s three children, Doug and Eddie, both 13, and Lilly, 10.

For Washington, a single mother, they were her greatest treasure.

“Her No. 1 priority in life was always her children,” Nelson says. “So it’s great we can do something good for her children with her work.”

For more information about the A. Heitner Benefit Art Sale, call 459-5443 or 459-5471 or visit the Web site at Partners/Anne.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 4 illustrations