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Jacques Terzian (1921–2016)

Jacques Terzian, sculptor and founder of the Point—an artists’ colony in San Francisco—died on August 6 at the age of ninety-four, Sam Whiting of SF Gate reports.

Terzian was prompted to lease the Hunters Point Shipyard, a former US Navy base, to create the Point after he and a group of artists were evicted from a San Francisco warehouse in the 1970s; developers demolished the building to create Levi’s Plaza. Terzian envisioned Hunter’s Point as affordable spaces for the artistic community and converted the naval base’s barracks into three hundred studios in 1984. It quickly grew into the largest artists’ colony in the US and currently hosts 250 artists.

“The shipyard arts community has lost the person whose inspiration, vision and love for the arts and artists brought it into being,” longtime tenant Scott Madison wrote on the Hunters Point Shipyard Artists’ website. “The person who was, for more than two decades, its animated and animating spirit.”

Born in Fresno, California, in 1921, the Bay Area–based artist was the son of Armenian immigrants. He learned to weld at a Navy yard in Richmond before working at Hunters Point Shipyard, where he repaired naval ships that were damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Terzian served in the Air Force and earned his BFA from the University of California, Berkeley before studying at New York City’s Parsons School of Design. In 1974, Terzian established a found object–based industrial art and custom-furniture company named Patterns Ltd. He served as property manager of the Point until 2000, when he began to gradually retire.