Body found in Cape Fear River identified as well known artist

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Robert "Bob" Delford Brown, 78, was found dead in the Cape Fear River earlier in the week by a boater.  His death has been ruled an accidental drowning.

Now, friends are mourning his loss but also celebrating his life, saying he was an artist and an activist.

"He was intense about his art, and he was intense about the world. He was intense about life," said Deborah Velders of the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington.

Brown moved to Wilmington two years ago when Velders, Cameron Art Museum director and Brown's friend, decided to put together an exhibit of his works.

In just a short time, friends say Brown had a huge impact on the area's art community.

"When you get right down to it, Bob Brown's artwork was more about--his whole life was like a big artwork. He lived large and loud," said Dan Brawley.

Brawley collaborated with Brown on several projects including a larger-than-life tire sculpture in front of the Cameron Art Museum.  He said Brown worked many different media, but above all he was a performance artist.

"He could bring humor into very serious topics. So, you'd be talking about war and genocide and somehow, at the end you were laughing and you were hopeful and that's a really unique quality," said Brawley.

Brown was especially good with children and he often had kids help him with collages, which he called "gluings."

Friends say Brown brought people together and will continue to help others through his art.

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