Saturday, August 6, 2011

Memento Mori

Kristin stayed vibrant, articulate, humorous, and loving until the end. When she lost her strength to stand and her ability to be lucid, she closed her eyes. Within a day, she slipped away. She went so quietly into the night, she didn't move an inch or make a sound.

We did shifts those last hours, sitting with her. It was a privilege. You could feel her energy slipping away. The photo above is of her bedside table. In one of my sittings with her, it was a touching still life. A few hours later, as it became more clear that she was unlikely to rally, it became a memento mori ... a reminder of mortality.

Here, in case you missed it, is Kristin's obituary. If you knew her, I am sorry for your loss. If you didn't, I am sorry for your loss. She was one of a kind.

In Loving Memory. Kristin Chambers. Beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

Kristin Chambers, 41, died August 5, 2011 at her home in Los Angeles, CA after a long battle with cancer.

At her request, there will be no memorial service but a celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

She was born on September 9, 1969 in Livonia, Michigan to Robert and Jan Ward Chambers.

She attended Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in 1991. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago where she worked on her Masters in Art History, Theory and Criticism.

She began her art career as a curatorial intern at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. In 1994, she worked on the team that opened the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, working on major artifact acquisitions for the institution. She met her husband Jeffrey Dollinger at the Rock Hall, where he was working as the Development Coordinator. They kicked off their relationship at the 25th Anniversary of Woodstock concert in 1994.

She and Jeffrey Dollinger married on October 18, 1997 at the Roycroft Inn in Aurora NY.

She became a curator at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (now MOCA) in 1996 and worked with international artists including Yoshitomo Nara, Oliver Herring, and Christine Hill. Kristin loved collaborating with artists on exhibitions and artist books and remained an independent curator when she moved to Los Angeles in 2003.

In 2002, Kristin gave birth to Simon Jackson Dollinger in Cleveland, Ohio. Her relationship with her son was the central focus of her life. Simon attends Sequoyah School in Pasadena and Kristin dedicated much of her time to the school and to Simon’s activities and interests. Before she passed, they collaborated on two paintings.

Kristin was inspired by artists like Christine Hill and Lisa Anne Auerbach who led creative lives and infused every day with artful practices. In one of the last essay’s she wrote, Kristin quoted Joseph Beuys “Every human being is an artist, a freedom being, called to participate in transforming and reshaping the conditions, thinking, and structures that shape and inform our lives.” This is how Kristin lived her life, even during her five-year battle with cancer. She made everyday gestures extraordinary and continued to practice a creative life via cooking, sailing, sewing, music, movies and friendships. Kristin was also loved travel, scuba diving, and playing the cello.

Kristin also served as a CASA advocate and was also a crucial and motivating force as a producer of the documentary Of Two Minds. The film delves into the struggles and triumphs of living with bipolar disorder. She believed strongly in the message and we know the film will live on to help people who deal with the complexities and tragedies of this illness every day. Kristin took on this role not because she herself suffered from this, but because her empathy reached out beyond that of her own world - far beyond. She infused heart and soul into this project through her hard work, spot-on insight and unstoppable sense of humor.

She is survived by her husband Jeffrey Dollinger; son Simon Dollinger; parents Robert and Jan Ward Chambers; brother Richard (Rick) Chambers and his spouse Emma and their children, Nina and Stella; sister Jen Chambers; grandmother Virginia G. Ward; aunt and uncle Shelley and Sam Beck; in-laws Susan Dollinger and Wayne Bonekemper; sisters-in-law Sara and Karen Dollinger; and grandmother-in-law Shirley English.

She is preceded in death by grandfather Richard T. Ward and his loving wife Mary Kay (Sam) Adams Ward; uncle Richard T. Ward, Jr.; and grandparents Edwin and Ellen Chambers.

Kristin requested that donations be made to either help produce the documentary “Of Two Minds” or to CASA LA.

Donations to “Of Two Minds” can be sent to:

MadPix, Inc.

2500 Silver Lake Terrace Los Angeles, CA 90039

(Please note Of Two Minds on the memo line)

Donations to CASA LA can be made via

For more information contact


  1. I went to Turpin with Kristin. My heart and love and prayers go out to her husband, her precious little boy and her parents and family.

    Christy Janisse
    Turpin Class of 87

  2. A beautiful tribute to a woman I knew only in high school. What an amazing soul! May her family and friends find comfort in their memories of this beautiful, amazing woman. Her spirit will live on forever.

    Kristin Hock
    Turpin Class of 87