By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
One of Amarillo's most influential philanthropists and artists has died.
Ann Crouch, who turned a dilapidated old mall into the city's largest art gallery, died Jan. 5 at the age of 84.
Services are 2 p.m. Tuesday at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western St.
Crouch was born in Memphis, Tenn., and moved to Texas as a small child. She married husband C.W. Crouch, who preceded her in death in 2001, in 1947. Their son Butch, who also predeceased her, was born in 1948.
Active in oil and gas production, the family also founded Texas Carpet and developed other commercial properties.
In 2005, Crouch renovated the old Sunset Center shopping mall and transformed it into The Galleries at Sunset Center. It's now the home to about 100 galleries as well as the Amarillo Art Institute and Panhandle Art Center. It attracts thousands of visitors monthly at the First Friday Art Walk.
Crouch was an accomplished artist herself and owner of the Sunset Art Gallery inside the center.
Artists grieved Crouch's death over the weekend on Facebook and elsewhere.
Artist and teacher Marcus Melton called Crouch "the patron saint of art in Amarillo."
"She truly was the hub of art in Amarillo, Texas. The city, the school, and so many artists have the privilege of owing a debt to this strong passionate lady," Amarillo Art Institute's Lee Blakeney and Racheal Flores said. "Because she avoided the spotlight as much as was possible, we are only now free to sing her praises."
Guido Frick, a German artist who holds regular workshops in Amarillo, said her death is "not only a great loss for all her friends and employees, but for the whole Texas Panhandle. ... I cannot imagine anybody more generous, more hospitable, more supportive than Ann."
Amarillo artist Jacob Breeden called her "a true patron, a dedicated philanthropist, and one of the meanest, toughest, and stubborn humans I have ever known."
According to her obituary, Crouch won Golden Nail Awards in 2008 and 2014, was named as one of the 10 Most Prominent People in Southwest Art Magazine in 2013, and won the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution’s Women In The Arts Recognition Award in 2014.