Here's what I wrote about Edie Whitsett earlier this year in the Genius Awards issue:
Edie Whitsett is that rare and wonderful thing: a world-class theater artist who's stayed deeply engaged with her profession while remaining in Seattle. Whitsett's calling card is painting—Ming Cho Lee, the legendary set designer, has praised her as the best scenic painter west of the Hudson—and she did years of exquisite work during her tenure as lead scenic artist at Pacific Northwest Ballet. At that time, she was executing other people's designs, but next spring she'll return to PNB as the scenic designer for Snow White. Now she's primarily working in three dimensions, serving as prop master at Seattle Children's Theatre, where amazing props are mandatory. When I press one of Whitsett's former colleagues for specifics on what makes her a great scenic artist, I get this: "She is joyfully involved with every aspect of her designs, gives clear and detailed drawings, paint elevations, and prop research and instructions, without ever being a vainglorious dick. The amount of work she is willing to do for each show, joyfully, is what sets her apart. She loves theater enough to always do it properly."
Last night, after an extended battle with cancer, Edie Whitsett passed away. Along with being an extremely well-regarded artist, Edie was a deeply beloved human. Today is a terribly sad day.