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Celebrating an Artist’s Work and Wish


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Celebrating an Artist’s Work and Wish

Written by Janice Valentino with Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, Inc. 

Caroline Prieur Schulz-Chechen is a name that I will not too soon forget. Nor will the world, if her husband Najim Chechen has his way, nor the many art students she taught and loved at the High School for Excellence and Innovation.

I came to know of Caroline and Najim this past summer. At the end of May, 2014, Caroline started to receive hospice care at home. It was evident that her moments of life were soon coming to an end. But Caroline and Najim wanted one more extraordinary moment, they had one final wish, one more opportunity to show Caroline’s life’s work to their many friends, family and those in the art world who loved and knew her well.

With the help of Dawn Ansbro, Executive Director of the Orange County Arts Council, the art show was on its way to becoming a reality. With a short window of time to put together this final request, “Caroline Prieur Schulz-Chechen: A Retrospective” was set to open the weekend of July 4 at the Yellow Bird Gallery in Newburgh. Caroline passed away on June 22, 2014 at the Kaplan Family Hospice Residence 13 days before the opening.

As painful as it was for Najim, he was not going back on his promise to Caroline, and so the 2-day exhibit took place with the help of family, friends, Hospice and the Orange County Arts Council. All who loved Caroline, worked with Caroline, those who knew of her work and those who did not were drawn to the gallery that sits on the waterfront in Newburgh, New York. Over 700 people came that weekend to honor Caroline and to be touched by her work and her spirit.

If you would like to view the full story behind Caroline’s Moment, please visit the


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