Thursday, September 5, 2019

Art League, Ancestor to Art Association, Forms in 1919

The paper today has a piece on the new sculpture at Bush Park and the 100th anniversary of the Salem Art Association.

The SJ notes that
In 1919, a group of art enthusiasts came together to found the Salem Arts League, which would later be called the Salem Art Association.

Since then, they've seen many changes like being entrusted with operation of the Bush House Museum, relocating to a renovated horse and carriage barn now known as the Bush Barn Art Center and the addition of the annex.

"Sentinels" honors the people who helped the art association get to today. It's a contemporary piece featuring three components of varying heights made out of structural steel.

"The sentinels are looking to the future (and) represent those who have passed the baton over a hundred years," Burnett said.
October 8th, 1919
Indeed, on Tuesday, October 7th, 1919, the Salem Art League began at the Library.
That Salem's cultured life should keep abreast with its civic growth is the motive which is back of the Salem Art League, whose organization was begun Tuesday evening in the lecture room of tho Salem public library, when enthusiastic artists and art patrons of Salem assembled in first regular session.

This is the first, organization of its kind in the capital city, for although several clubs for the promotion of art have been formed their efforts have been restricted to one branch of art. The league will not only foster art, but will aid in advancing literature and music, as well.
Probably there would be something to say about the composition of the charter members. The League was overwhelmingly female, and it is significant that large numbers of women had found employment, advancement, satisfaction, and status during the war; their organizational skills and ambitions were being wasted now as the workforce ejected them, reverting to men returning from the military. In clubs they created new opportunities for themselves.

October 8th, 1919
But it was not only women. R.C. Paulus, Otto Paulus, M.E. Pogue, and A.C. Barbour appear to be the lone men among the charter members. (Would they try to take over? Or did they follow the women? The organizational history might be interesting, too.)

Some names are also missing. Over at Salem History Matters they claimed
In 1919, Sally Bush and her sister-in-law Lulu Hughes Bush, along with Elizabeth Lord, Edith Schryver, and other creative folks, developed the Salem Arts League to promote enjoyment of various forms of art in Salem.
Something is amiss here. Lord & Schryver didn't meet until 1927 on a cruise ship. The list here of charter members and organizers of the Art League doesn't include Elizabeth Lord or Sally Bush, either. Mrs. A. N. Bush joins up at the second meeting, but the Misses Lord or Bush are not mentioned.

So it looks like there may be some myth-making going on somewhere akin to the kind of "family lore" that turns out not to be true.

October 15th, 1919
There's certainly more to say about the social history here, and maybe we'll come back to it later. Others might have more to say, also.

No comments: