by Donna Marie McNeil with Christina Shipps
There Has to Be Magic embodies the overarching spirit of the irrepressible Evelyn Kok, painter, musician, luthier, world renowned medical illustrator, impish punster, tramper, and poet. Evelyn’s life inspired others to be fully themselves, mark their own path, and protect their light.
Beautifully illustrated, it is a story of magic. Evelyn believed, lived it and breathed it.
About the Authors
DONNA MARIE MCNEIL
In 1990, Donna McNeil sold her gallery and home in Amherst, Massachusetts, and moved her life and livelihood to Maine. After serving as director of several non profit art organizations in the state in 2003 she was recruited to serve at the Maine Arts Commission, quickly rising to the post of director. Under McNeil’s leadership, the agency helped to establish Maine as the state that boasted the highest individual awards for artists. She oversaw the creation of Creative Communities Equal Economic Development grant, which provides funding for communities to foster their creative industries and work collectively with government, business, and the arts. Since retiring from her post at the commission in 2013, McNeil has continued to support and advocate for the arts in Maine, working with Artists in Context, with Dan Crewe as archivist and curator of the Bob Crewe Collection at MECA, curating the Thomas Moser traveling retrospective originating at MECA, writing a book with Tom Moser to accompany the exhibit, A Legacy of Wood, and curating the topical SELF/selfie exhibit at Engine. Holding a masters degree in Art History from Harvard University, she has authored numerous essays on artists and their work. McNeil also serves on the board of directors at Space Gallery, Engine, Mechanics Hall, Friends of the Blaine House and on the grants committee at Maine Women’s Fund. To bring balance to her life, she teaches yoga at Niraj Studio in Portland, Maine, a beautiful place to live and work.
Born in Boston and following in her grandmother Cora’s footsteps, Christina Shipps graduated from the Boston Museum School as a metal smith, winning a graduate fellowship grant which she spent in South America. Her career path meandered from teaching metal smithing, then managing a custom design jewelry salon in Boston to designing for a New York fine jewelry manufacturer. She became Vice President, introduced the brand to the international market and became president of their overseas distribution company based in Japan.
Her aunt Evelyn’s siren call eventually drew Christina to Stonington, Maine where she reinvented herself as an inn owner, restauranteur, building renovator, and home made ice cream manufacturer. Upon inheriting Evelyn’s art work in 2014 she started a new company, The Art of Evelyn Kok, producing greeting cards and prints.
Christina shares her time between Stonington and Patten, Maine where she and her husband, Glenn Gray, own Mountain Glory Farm, a 170 acre farm with vacation apartments and a resident Amish farming family. They will launch a new business in Patten in 2017, The Farmstead, a farm to table café and espresso bar also offering their home made ice cream, Evelyn Kok greeting cards and prints, antiques, interesting conversation and this book.