James Clarke is the CEO and Managing Partner of Clarke Capital Partners. He is considered one of the top 10 coolest Entrepreneurs, according to UVU. He and his wife, Andrea Clarke, started up a business called Clearlink, a type of marketing business that creates customers for other businesses like AT&T and Dish Network.
James Clarke happened to grow up in Rexburg, Idaho where his parents worked for BYU-Idaho. Why is James Clarke now so significant to BYU-I?
James and Andrea Clarke recently loaned a collection of art pieces to BYU-Idaho in honor of his parents, Jack and Marilyn Clarke. Eight of these paintings currently hang in the lower level of the BYU-Idaho Center.
Chris Moore, the president of Principal Gifts of LDS Philanthropies, said the paintings arrived the Thursday before the inauguration of President Henry J. Eyring and were hung by the following Monday.
“It really is one of those moments where you get to think about the Spirit of Ricks and us being able to honor our loved ones and those that have served at the University,” Clarke said.
He said he also loaned these paintings to the BYU-Idaho Center specifically because thousands of students would get to see this art every Tuesday before and after Devotional.
“It’s just a wonderful opportunity for the paintings to be there to bless and inspire and uplift students that we care so greatly for,” Clarke said.
The artist, Liz Lemon Swindle, was able to attend the inauguration and she seemed very touched that thousands of students would walk by these paintings, according to Moore.
“[The student’s will] be inspired to learn more about the Savior and love the Savior more because of what she did,” said Moore
Clarke said his family had been working with Swindle for a long time on this collection.
“This has been a labor of love for Liz for the past three years, to wake up every morning and to work on these paintings tirelessly,” he said. “…It’s been challenging in every respect of that word. She has worked tirelessly to make this happen and we are just grateful for her efforts to complete these paintings.”
The completed paintings were delivered to the Clarke’s home one by one and through this, the paintings had become very special to their family. Clarke said that one of his favorites from the collection had been hung in his and Andrea’s bedroom.
“It’s really hard to go an evening without saying your nightly prayers or choosing the right or doing the right things when you’ve got the Savior looking at you through the eyes of such a wonderful painter like Liz Lemon Swindle,” he said.
Clarke said he hopes BYU-I students can receive the message that Swindle conveys through the “more human and loving Savior” on the canvas just as he has.
The Clarkes plan to send more of Swindle’s paintings to BYU-Idaho in the years to come to complete the collection and as Moore said, “just bring people closer to the Savior.”