Orlando musicians and artists come together to support Jim Leatherman and family after tragic loss


Jim Leatherman and Kimberly Wolski. She tagged him on July 7 and captioned the photo, "Best Co-Parented Assholes." - PHOTO VIA KIMBERLY WOLSKI/FACEBOOK
  • Photo via Kimberly Wolski/Facebook
  • Jim Leatherman and Kimberly Wolski. She tagged him on July 7 and captioned the photo, "Best Co-Parented Assholes."
One of Orlando's kindest people is going through a pretty terrible time this holiday season. Jim Leatherman, celebrated photographer of artists, bands and musicians, lost Kimberly Wolski, his ex-wife and mother to his two children, on Dec. 10.

Jim is now starting to raise his son and daughter, 13-year-old Riley and 9-year-old Eliza, on his own ahead of Christmas.

This tragic news will be of interest to his many friends and fans, who can help the family right now through a pair of GoFundMe and Facebook donation pages.

Wolski was "a Minneapolis transplant ... a friend to so many in Orlando, especially those in the local music and improv communities," says the online donation page. "So many of us loved dancing with her at shows, sharing a laugh and seeing that twinkle in those big green eyes."
  • Photo via Jeannine Gage and Sandra Carr/GoFundMe
Wolski "succumbed to metastatic breast cancer after a brave nearly 3-year struggle," says the page. Donations will "make their holidays brighter, and provide them with additional financial security as they get through this difficult time."

"Jim is a beloved fixture in the local music scene, usually from behind the lens of his ubiquitous camera or playing bass with one of our local bands," says the page, but even that understates just how many know and care about him.

His work has been published on album covers and in books, magazines and newspapers – including Orlando Weekly. "But I most enjoy seeing it on a beat-up band flyer stapled to a telephone pole," Leatherman wrote in an artist's statement at his April-May 2016 exhibit at CityArts.

Leatherman learned how to develop his own black-and-white film in high school, and then worked at a one-hour photo hut, where he learned how to develop color. "My own tiny university," he called it.
  • Photo by Jim Leatherman/Orlando Weekly
  • Belle and Sebastian
Ashley Belanger wrote about Leatherman in March 2015, ahead of the show, calling it "a required field trip for anyone with a pulse who got into music between 1984 and today and wants to relive any part of the mayhem."

  • Photo by Jim Leatherman/Orlando Weekly
For the Weekly, Leatherman has photographed the lineups of entire music festivals, capturing the magic of each act. His photograph of Archers of Loaf made the cover of Late Century Dream: Movements in the US indie music underground. Check out this 2015 Billboard magazine profile of his work.

"I love music. I love photography. I put the two together so I wouldn't have to cheat on one," he wrote. "I began sneaking my camera into shows 30+ years ago, I am rarely without it since."

  • Photo by Jim Leatherman/Orlando Weekly
A GoFundMe fundraiser was held for the printing, framing and gallery rental for the CityArts Factory show in 2015 – raising $4,815 of its $3,500 goal.

At the time of this publishing, the GoFundMe campaign for his family is at $1,712 of its $5,000 goal, while the Facebook page has surpassed its $10,000 goal, with $14,440 raised.

"He is a kind and generous soul who has given back so much to his community through his art, love and knowledge of all things music," says the campaign.

We couldn't agree more.
  • Photo via Jim Leatherman/Facebook
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