Sunday, June 14, 2009

LoWayne Tidwell Kittinger

LoWayne Tidwell Kittinger was born in Albertville, Alabama, on May 14, 1927. When she was a young girl, her family moved to Dinuba, California. After graduation from Dinuba High School in 1945, she earned an Associate in Arts Degree from Reedley College in 1947. She continued her education at Fresno State College, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism.

After college, LoWayne went to work for the Alta Advocate, earning $45 a week. In September, 1947, she was hired by the Fresno Bee. She worked as a reporter covering general city news, society, and women’s features.

In 1951, LoWayne move to San Francisco and took a job as an insurance underwriter with American International Underwriters. LoWayne then moved to Los Angeles in 1955 where she wrote a series of six shows for the “Puppet Playhouse” which aired on CBS and she worked on a television drama series, “The Tracers.”

On a lark, LoWayne and her college roommate, Maggie Fisher, moved to New Orleans. It was there that she met and married Sidney “Kit” Kittinger, an artist, in July, 1956. Kit and Lowayne both worked for a small movie studio painting scenery and backdrops. LoWayne also worked for a magazine publisher and an advertising agency.

Kit and LoWayne led the bohemian lifestyle of many great artists. They lived and painted in Manzanillo, Mexico, for several months. They moved to San Francisco where their career as artists continued. Then, they moved to Dinuba so LoWayne could care for her elderly mother.

During their time in Dinuba, LoWayne helped establish the first Head Start program in the area. She was a tireless advocate for the poor.

In 1967, Kit and LoWayne moved to Auberry and retired. Ever the activist, LoWayne fought to bring garbage collection service to the mountains. She was a charter member of the Sierra Oaks Senior Citizens Association. In 1988, she began volunteering at the Auberry Library and became unofficially responsible for decorating the Library’s bulletin board. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Auberry Library and she contributed books and baked goods to the FOAL’s annual book and bake sale.

After Kit’s death in 1997, LoWayne continued to work at the Auberry Library. In 2004, she obtained her first passport and traveled with friends to Quito, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.

LoWayne was a notorious animal lover. Mice who ventured into her house were caught in her “Have a Heart” trap and released a mile away. She took in stray cats, found homes for stray dogs, and even cared for an abandoned horse.

LoWayne was a terrible driver. She wrecked two cars and made many Auberry residents nervous when she was on the road.

LoWayne Tidwell Kittinger passed away on Sunday, April 26, 2009. She was 82.

Sidney Kittinger

Sidney "Kit" Kittinger was born in 1921 in the isolated hamlet of Rumsey, Kentucky.

He began drawing at an early age and sold his first painting for 3¢ to a 15-year-old farm boy. The drawing was pornographic in nature; Kit and his first patron were suspended from school for two weeks.

Kit attended Western Kentucky State University where he majored in Art. A week before graduation, he was drafted into the Army. He served as an Infantry man during World War II in Africa and Italy. He was fortunater to be able to attend the Florentine Acadmey of Art while in Italy.

Later, he studied briefly at the Art Students' League in New York. Restless, he purchased a sailboat and moved to Florida where he studied during several winter terms at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota.

During a cruise to Mexico, he was forced into New Orleans. He decided to remain there and finish his art education at the New Orleans Academy of Art.

For 17 years, he lived in New Orleans where he was well known for his paintings of the French Quarter, including a series on New Orleans Jazz. He was honored by the New Orleans Philharmonic Society with an exhibition of these works in the Opera House. One of the paintings was presented to the President of Argentina as a good will gift by DeLesseps Morrison, Mayor of New Orleans at the time, and subsequently, Ambassador to the South American States under President Kennedy. Another painting was presented to the Kennedy Memorial Collection.

Kit was represented by Maxwell Galleries in San Francisco, and E. Lorenz Borenstein Gallery in New Orleans.

He lived in San Francisco from 1958 to 1963. Disenchanted with big city life, he and his artist wife, LoWayne, moved to Dinuba, a small farm town in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1967, Kit and LoWayne moved to Auberry, a small community in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He continued to paint and also taught watercolor classes.

Kit passed away on June 11, 1997, at the age of 76 after a long battle with heart disease.

Sidney Kittinger Selling Paintings in Jackson Square

Sidney Kittinger painted and sold pictures in Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Sidney Kittinger's Puppet Theatre on WWL-TV in 1957

Sidney Kittinger's Puppet Theatre TV series on WWL-TV in New Orleans was highly acclaimed. Sidney designed the puppets and sets and his wife, LoWayne, wrote the shows. Reporter Ted Liuzza lamented the show's demise due to a lack of sponsorship in his column on December 27, 1957.

Sidney and Anna Gaule operated the puppets. Blond haired Cheri Lee was the show's only "human" star.

Sidney Kittinger With the Puppets

Newspaper Article About Sidney Kittinger's Puppet Theatre

Kittinger Forest in Acryllic, Pen and Ink