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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Art in the park


P-J file photo This vendor was one of many who set up a booth for the 2001 Art in the Park show. This year marks the 35th year of the show.

7/8/2006 - The Chautauqua County Society Of Artists has a rich history dating back over two centuries. The society is but a sampling of the richness of the arts that flourish in our area. No art form can exist without appreciation and participation of its public and we salute those of you who have supported and support the outstanding talent that exists in our area. Our inheritance would not move into the future generations without you.The first annual outdoor show held by the society on Aug. 1, 1959. It was held in Dow Park behind the library. Gertrude Kline was president at the time. Since then the society has held 34 continuous outdoor shows. The places where the shows have been held have changed over the years and are now held in Mayville’s Lakeside Park. This year will mark the 35th outdoor show. When you think of Art in the Park keep in mind the Chautauqua County Society of Artists is the first organization to present art in this area in outdoor shows in the park. From yesterday down through time to today, the society is always open to new members and will invite anyone who is aspiring to be or is an artist or crafter to become a member. And anyone who had a great appreciation for art and its development within our community is also welcome.Today and Sunday, the Chautauqua County Society of Artists in conjunction with the Jamestown Chapter of the Red Cross will be at the Lakeside Park in Mayville for its annual event and outdoor show. Everyone is welcome and there is no admission fee. Please join us and have an enjoyable day by the lake, view wonderful art and participate in the water boat races run by the Red Cross. Imagine yourself in the time period of 1888. If you were Roger Tory Peterson and his friend Ernst Anderson and others, you would spend that time drawing or creating works of art. This group grew and others joined them. In the early 1900s, Catherine Holms organized the group called the Jamestown Sketch Club. The role of the club was defined in the Aug. 6, 1934 issue of the Chautauquan Daily written about a club exhibition at Alumni Hall. The article pointed out that the Jamestown Sketch Club was an organization that recognized the importance of art as an avocation in the era of readjustment to the increased leisure time created by the technological development of the last few decades. The group grew and by 1936, the Chautauqua County Society of Artists emerged. Mrs. Stanley Weeks along with others wrote a constitution and bylaws. It was that year the society held its first annual art show with over 200 paintings exhibited. Elmer Holmberg won first prize for an oil entitled, ‘‘Emporium, Pa.’’Throughout the years since the society’s beginning many well-known local artists have helped to develop its original ideals to bring art appreciation to all who are interested. Following Roger Tory Peterson, Ernst Anderson and others came those of equal distinction. The mural painted in the children’s section of the James Prendergast Library was created and painted by David Lawrence, a society member. Another member, Laura Bell Colburn, painted the portrait of Justice Jackson that also hangs in the library. Art comes in as many forms as there are artists who can and will produce it. How many of you remember names such as Roger Powell who created woodburings? Or Gurnard Wallen, landscape artist, or accomplished calligraphers Sherman Brooks and Jackie Briggs? Artists too numerous to list have down through the history of the club made it what it was and is. Many artists have given their share of time committed to the continuation of the club by serving on its Board of Directors or serving as officers. We can all agree that in the early settlement of this country crafts were an integral part of life through the hands of talented everyday people. Things such as quilting, woodcrafts, knitting, crochet, hand-painted furniture, jewelry creations and numerous other forms we all hold dear passed down for other generations or newly produced by our own generation. The Society of Artists has invited those who create these art forms to be a part of our tradition. In 1983, the society decided that Roger Tory Peterson should be a permanent member of the Society of Artists and presented him with a certificate of lifetime membership. Mr. Peterson responded with a thank you note that read: ‘‘I was delighted to receive a card certifying that I am a member in good standing of the Society of Artists, this organization, I gather was an outgrowth of the Jamestown Sketch Club which I used to belong to and attended with Ernst who was Rudy’s brother, a very good friend of mine, indeed one of my two best friends prior to his untimely death. I take pleasure in knowing that I am now a member of this fine Society.’’ This note is proudly preserved in the society’s history scrapbooks religiously kept up by Carol Norburg, the society’s historian. Carol created the history books after being given a few clippings and artifacts by Paula Shannon. Over the years, the society has had many presidents that have preserved and passed on the organization’s ability to move proudly into the future. David Lawrence, Barbara Lissfelt, Sally Holland, Carol Norburg, Paula Shannan and Bill Ingelsby in present times. In 2003, the society lost President William Ingelsby. It was always Bill’s desire to keep the society as prestigious as it had always been and in his passing left the society preserved as it was meant to be — an organization dedicated to the appreciation and development of artists and art. Last year, another long-standing member was lost, Ginger Swanson, watercolorist. Both Bill and Ginger are warmly remembered. The current president is Linda Shaddack of Lakewood.Jamestown and its surrounding areas have enjoyed a rich history in the arts. The Chautauqua County Society of Artists is among those riches and participants. Such community leaders like Mrs. Stanley Weeks, Irene Flanders and Mrs. Mable Drischer were instrumental in the shaping of the society from its transition from the Jamestown Sketch Club to the society. This year the society will be in existence for 70 years and if the years the Sketch Club existed then the club has a 102-year history. Those of you who may be thinking of or wanting to join the society may contact Linda Shattuck, 763 2133; Carol Norburg, 665 5483; or Milt and Audrey Shelgren, 661-3650.

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