Susan O’Malley was an artist and curator from the San Francisco Bay Area. From posters to pep talks, billboards to vending machines, her art uses simple and recognizable tools of engagement to connect people to one another. O’Malley’s artwork has been exhibited in public projects across the United States—including the Montalvo Art Center, Kala Art Institute, and Palo Alto Art Center in California; the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston; and the Parthenon Museum in Nashville—as well as in galleries and museums in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Poland. Her installation Finding Your Center was recently featured at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and her project A Healing Walk is permanently installed at Villa Montalvo in Northern California.
Susan O’Malley was also the most beautiful person imaginable—a bright, optimistic, loving force, whose generous heart and creative spirit made her so treasured and so irreplaceable.
As an artist, she made work that connected people and helped them gain a greater understanding of one another. This principle was both at the heart of her work and at the core of how she lived, as an advocate of the great power of connectedness and an expert at distilling life into its fundamental element: love.
Susan once described a work she created YOU ARRIVE MY LIFE BEGINS as "between a thank-you note and a love letter to anyone willing to read and receive it." It reflected her appreciation for every person she ever encountered, but those who loved her saw special meaning in its messages in relation to her husband, Tim, whose arrival launched a new, beautiful chapter in Susan's life.
Susan and Tim were the closest of companions and best friends. They loved each other in a way that was as genuine as it was abundant. There was no greater supporter of Susan than Tim, a.k.a. the exact, right person to appreciate every bit of her Susan-ness. She was the love of his life, and he was the love of hers—and then some.
Susan’s last creation was her most perfect. At the time of her sudden and unexpected passing, Susan was pregnant with baby girls, Lucy and Reyna. For nearly nine months, Susan grew and loved these two beautiful baby girls, and after she fell into unconsciousness, they were delivered by emergency C-section. Lucy and Reyna only lived for a short time, but long enough to be safely held in the loving arms of their father Tim, and family.
Like her mother, who passed away a year ago, Susan lived with both grace and a sense of humor. Her insight and empathy were great gifts to this world. Her bravery to live authentically was an inspiration. And her voice was uniquely hers. We are so grateful for the time we were able to share with her and the blessings her love brought to our lives.
As we struggle with this unfathomable loss, we turn to Susan’s own wisdom and words for comfort, and trust that, as she so poignantly expressed, “it will be more beautiful than we could ever imagine." In honor of Susan, and in loving support of her husband Tim, and their families, we vow to love bigger, better, and more deeply than ever before.