They Left Their High Rent & Frantic Lifestyle in San Francisco

They Brought Their Heart to Paducah’s Lower Town

We brought all the best of San Francisco with us,” says Bob O’Brien from his quiet office in a renovated residence on Kentucky Avenue. A licensed marriage and family therapist whose shingle now hangs significantly more inland than in his previous life, Bob shares the space with Dr. Carla Farr, a long-time Paducah family therapist.

“It’s a mindset,” Bob explains. “Connie {his wife} and I realized that although a metropolitan locale like San Francisco offers a certain cultural appeal, a place for progressive political thought and for spiritual inquiry, these are things we can access from really anywhere in the world. We can get that when and how we want it.”

And even though they gave up a few intrinsic elements like the ocean and organic foods as a common grocery staple, they gained a lifestyle which brings them both closer to their personal passions and without the high cost and frantic pace of the country’s more urban environments.

They Left their High Rent

It was actually Connie Noyes, Bob’s wife and an accomplished artist, who brought them to the shores of the Ohio away from the crashing waves of the Pacific. “We had begun to consider a move when I saw an ad for Paducah’s Artist Relocation Program in an art magazine. The dot-com industry had driven commercial property prices through the roof,” Connie explains. So upon a visit and after the hard-sell of the program’s head cheerleader Mark Barone, Bob and Connie left family, friends, and that California way of life in the west and headed east to the likes of a decidedly different shoreline!

“We really had a desire and were ready to accept a lifestyle change,” Bob adds. “We were looking for a slower pace of life and a tighter knit community.” Could Paducah’s definition be any more succinct if given by Mr. Webster himself? Enter Bob and Connie.

One of the earliest families to commit to the infant vision of an artists’ community, Bob and Connie chose a “vintage villa” at 614 Madison, gutted it down to the bricks and began the renaissance of their new home and their new life. This fall Connie will open the O Gallery, and will begin her quest to bring nationally- and internationally-known artists to both exhibit and provide workshops in Paducah.

“I plan to have the gallery on the main floor along with a space to show the works of guest artists,” Connie says. Connie holds a Master of Arts degree from Notre Dame de Namur University in California and a Master in Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is currently represented by the Paul Sunderholm Gallery as well as the SFMOMA Artists Gallery in San Francisco. Her work has been on exhibit in galleries and museums from Alexandria, Virginia to Montreal to Bolder, Colorado to Florence, Italy.

And as Connie and many of the artists attest, Paducah Bank has not only provided essential financial support and assistance, they have also been quick to serve as the informal welcome wagon. “Wally and Joe have introduced me to people and have given me personal guidance in making professional contacts around the community,” Bob explains. “A good example is my connection with June Antony at the United Way. I’m planning to help with a needs assessment project called Voices very soon, which should help to identify areas of community need for the best allocation of the organization’s resources.”

So not only is the city’s Artist Relocation Program bringing creative hearts and minds like those of Connie Noyes to the canvas we call Paducah, it’s also painting a backdrop for the addition of individual brushstrokes from caring new citizens like Bob O’Brien. Masterful!

art & life

CONNIE NOYES will open the O Gallery this fall. To see her work or to contact her about her art, she can be reached at www.connienoyes.com or by phone at 415.533.2953.
BOB O’BRIEN, licensed marriage and family therapist, can be reached at Professional Counseling Services for an appointment and consultation. That number is 270.444.7195.