Bob Knipe’s passion for the arts, community, media and technology is epitomized by GO Art!’s new home podcast studio, Seymour Place, in Batavia, according to his son, Tom Knipe, and wife of Knipe, Linda Knipe, who both spoke on Sunday before a ribbon cutting at the studio.
“My dad was someone for whom it was such an appropriate thing to do in honor of my dad,” said Tom Knipe, who currently heads Ithaca’s industrial development agency. “He was a media guy in college. He was a radio guy. He, he liked really good sound. He was an audiophile all my life. I remember him putting huge headphones on me on my head when I was two. Listen to this. So it’s very appropriate.”
Knipe has been involved in numerous community organizations, mostly around the arts. He was a board member of GO Art! (and continued to be actively involved after his term on the board expired), as well as performing and volunteering for the Genesee Symphony Orchester, Batavia Concert Band, and Genesee Wind Ensemble. He was also a Rotarian and served on city committees.
“He viewed all of his activities as essential contributions to the local community and its economic development,” Linda said. “He told us at some point in the past few days that music had given meaning to his life. He said, ‘Without music, life is kind of a cruel joke. I believe there is music in the atmosphere, science, the flow of electricity, the beating of the heart. Music is fundamental to everything. And volunteering was fundamental to Bob’s character and upbringing as well.”
GO Art! Executive Director Gregory Hallock recalled the difficult path he took to get his job. He first applied in 2015 and didn’t get the job. He said it was Knipe who called him to say he didn’t get the job. He told her, Hallock said, that he wasn’t ready. When the position reopened in 2016, Hallock applied again. Again, Knipe broke the sad news, but this time with an alternate offer: Hallock could become the assistant director, a position that didn’t exist before and would have to be funded by a grant.
“He had this plan,” Hallock said. “He wanted me to come in as assistant manager because I wasn’t from the area. He said you don’t know anyone but you’re supposed to be here. He said, it’s not your time You gotta be under somebody So they hired they got a grant to hire me and brought me in Feb 2016 so I could work for a year with somebody else then take Succession.
Linda Knipe said Bob always saw potential in Hallock and Hallock said Bob Knipe was always there for him.
He painted the main gallery. He built art exhibits. When Hallock pitched the idea of a library in Seymour Place, Kniped showed up with books to donate. That was nearly five years before the library opened.
Each time Hallock made the call to council members, and even though Knipe was no longer on the council, he was always the first to answer.
“I would always get a phone call or a text from him, saying, ‘What do we need to do? How can we make this happen?’ said Hallock.
Linda said Bob loved Batavia and wanted to see it prosper and its people succeed.
“Those of you closest to Bob probably understood his motivations, but he loved people,” Linda said. “His efforts were aimed at improving people’s lives, individually through programs and by creating a fun, interesting and fulfilling community. He worked tirelessly to provide people with opportunities to grow.”
Top photo: Bob Knipe’s grandchildren Alice, Eleanor and Alder, along with Linda Knipe and Tom Knipe, cut the ribbon in the new podcast studio.