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  • Arts Commission member has notable fan

    The work of Public Art and Community Design Committee member Michelle Rouch caught the attention of some high flyers in recent months. Her painting “Space-Cation” depicting Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in a stylized spacesuit while surfing on a rocket developed by his Blue Origin spaceflight services company was one of the highlights of the National Space Society’s 2018 International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles. The painting attracted Bezos’s attention during the ISDC Governor’s Dinner reception, eliciting an “Awesome” from the billionaire.Rouch

    “Space-Cation,” which debuted at Space Tech Expo in Pasadena, continued to attract attention following the conference. A reproduction banner of the piece greeted visitors to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Tucson Section’s STEM outreach booth at 2018 Comic Fest in Phoenix. It also earned positive reviews in the AAIA’s Aerospace Americas Magazine and In-Flight Magazine.

    A self-taught artist and professional engineer, Rouch got the idea for the painting after hearing Bezos speak with a reporter about the potential space tourism opportunities presented by Blue Origin.

    “It was amazing. It was in an instant I knew that I had to create this. So, I asked a lot of my co-workers: ‘What would you envision to have a vacation in space?.’ They gave me some ideas and with each one I got; I was able to get inspired,” Roach said in a red carpet interview at the 2019 Living Legends of Aviation Honors Reception in Beverly Hills.

    Roach is one of six members of the Public Art and Community Design Committee, created to review and approve recommendations from public art selection juries for individual public art projects as part of the Pima County Public Art Program. Rouch represents District 4 on the panel. She also sits on the AIAA Society and Aerospace Technology Technical Committee and as vice chair of AIAA’s Tucson Section, and is the founder and co-chair of the Tucson-Chapter of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.
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