Feb 1, 2023

Maggie Rose McGurk: Riding to Your Rescue for Valentine’s Day

Making clay while the sun shines—in Sun City, of course

By Ed Goldman

It’s evident that Maggie Rose McGurk—who’s recently turned her multi-talented artistry to designing a series of one-of-a-kind Valentine heart-shaped jewelry—never received that memo as a young woman advising her to not spread herself too thin.

With her low, calm voice and expressive face, McGurk, a longtime friend, could easily have had a career in TV or radio. Instead, she used her unerring eye and technical savvy to become one of the region’s most ubiquitous photographers—in fact, the official photographer for the Sacramento Kings in the mid-1980s, for the “people” sections of Sacramento and Comstock’s magazines (for the latter, she even had a column called “RSVP”) and as former Governor Gray Davis’s personal photographer. (Californians will recall Davis. In fact, they did.)

Edgy Cartoon

Maggie Rose McGurk

For four decades, McGurk, who’s always worked out of her home, also donated some of her art pieces to the KVIE (PBS-TV) Art Auction. During its most recent fundraiser, her painting, “Tranquility at the Sacramento Yacht Club,” a sunset vista, sold for well over its appraised value—a fairly common occurrence for her work.  

But several years ago, she says that a now-former friend she’d trained to take event pictures became her competitor, showing up at the same public functions McGurk had come to capture, crowding her out of the limited field (despite the plethora of politicos and glam news anchors, the Sacramento region isn’t a destination spot for paparazzi). 

Edgy Cartoon

One from the Heart

After a while, “I just decided to move on and concentrate on all of the other things I loved,” she tells me in an interview last Friday. Those include what she calls “upcycling” CDs into jewelry pendants and earrings, and combining her painting and photographic skills into unique multi-media pictures. She also took up a freelance residency with the family-friendly Lincoln News Messenger, for which she produces a visual column called “Fun Through the Eye of Maggie McGurk”—”and I do have fun!” she exclaims.

McGurk, who seems to take equal amounts of pride and joy in her work, studied art and photography at Sacramento City College. She is also a nursing school graduate. “I loved being a nurse,” she says, but before long she says she “went for my passion” and continued studying art and photography at what’s now called Sacramento State University. “It was so much fun!” she says (this may be her most familiar mantra). After graduating she worked for Sacramento Sports Magazine and made a literal splash taking an iconic picture of a participating craft at a Sacramento Yacht Club regatta nearly engulfing her in its wake. (Need we ask if this, too, was so much fun?)

McGurk lives in the Sun City community of Lincoln, about 24 miles from California’s capital. For a century-and-a-third, clay production has been the top industry of this semi-rural town. 

If you’re in the mood for a country drive, you can buy McGurk’s polymer-clay Valentine’s hearts in person at the Art League of Lincoln’s gift shop: 580 Sixth Street, Lincoln, open Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 pm. The phone number is 916.209.3499 and the email is artleaguelincoln@gmail.com

Edgy Cartoon

A Maggie Sampler

You can also view and buy at one of McGurk’s websites: https://www.photoreflect.com/store/Photos.aspx?e=11383199 or https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/profile/1247393237

Either way, you’d better hurry if you want to get your mitts on the merch by V-day. McGurk says she’ll even mail you your purchase, apparently unworried about spreading spread herself even thinner.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


GPB, a division of SoFi Bank, N.A., is a proud sponsor of the Sacramento Speaker Series. Last week’s speaker was the very impressive and trenchant Anne-Marie Slaughter, an expert on international affairs, who offered a timely perspective on the war in Ukraine and the future of defense.

As introduced by the series, “Anne-Marie Slaughter is an international lawyer, foreign policy analyst, political scientist and public commentator. She was the Dean of Princeton University‘s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Slaughter was the first woman to serve as the Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department. As author and editor Slaughter has worked on eight books. She revived a national debate over gender equality in the 21st century in an article in The Atlantic titled ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have it All’.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a global inflection point that could change the world order, challenging our assumptions about nationalism and democracy. As Slaughter spoke, it struck me that people have grown more interconnected than ever before. There is no corner of the globe that is not impacted by any war.

Says Slaughter: “Our approach [to global security] has changed by the way we’ve elevated development. The biggest lesson is to recognize global responsibility.”

War has a tremendous, far-reaching impact on the global economy, trickling down all the way to our local small businesses. Consider these 10 ways that the Ukraine-Russia war affects small businesses in the United States (published 4/17/22 by Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead In Small Business News):

  1. Supply Chain Disruption
  2. Price of Food Going Up
  3. Gas Price Increase
  4. Inflated Borrowing Costs
  5. Product Stockpiling
  6. Growing Cybersecurity Concerns
  7. Halt of Operations in Russia and Sanctions
  8. Agriculture and Logistical Difficulties
  9. Shortage of Software Engineers
  10. Russian-Themed/Named Businesses Have Taken a Hit

Put simply, Anne-Marie Slaughter reminds us that not only are we not alone but also that we’re interconnected. My fervent hope is that as the world shrinks, humanity will expand.

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