In early 1962 Joyce Schild and a small group of Lawrence residents, who shared a common interest in art, discussed their desire for a local art show with Wayne Bly, then director of Lawrence Parks and Recreation. Bly encouraged the group to organize a formal Art Guild from which art shows could be fostered. The Guild began with John Garcia as president, Joyce Schild as Vice President, Helen Garrett and Wayne Bly as officers. Garrett had worked for years at Hallmark as an artist for Joyce Hall and was the spark that got Schild started on Art in the Park. Garret lamented once at one of the small group’s gatherings that "Before I die, I want to be hung (in an art show)" Her friend Schild thought she should get her wish.
When word got out that they were doing a local art show Schild said. “All that day people came up to me saying they drew or painted. The neighbor who worked in a beauty salon, an old neighbor, a wife of a KU professor, even the mailman and garbage man, and other people walking down the alley behind the house. We worked very hard night after night, day after day. Later my husband told me, never to start anything again.”
By the beginning of February, 1962, Schild had enlisted a larger group of interested Lawrence people. Jean Allen, who had taught in the KU Design Department, chaired the event, with the assistance of Jeannot Seymour a member of the KU Communications Dept. and Bob Ebendorf, an outstanding KU art student at the time. The first show was called Lawrence Art Festival, and was held May 12th and 13th, 1962 in the Community Building. The building had been transformed into a marvelous setting using plants loaned by local spotlights and a tremendous tapestry, done by Lili Rankin, hung height over the entrance door. “It was the talk of the town” Schild remembers. “We had the high school band and chorus for entertainment.
Refreshments, hosts and hostesses, programs with silk-screened covers. It was a show for the people, of the people.” The show was open to any Douglas County resident 18 or over who paid their $1 yearly dues to be a Guild member. No screening or jury decisions regarding entries were made. Only three pieces were permitted per artist. More than 140 residents exhibited their artwork this first year.
In 1963, Leland Miller became President of the Art Guild. This year the show was three days and once again, in the Community Building. It was chaired by Carlyle Smith, a KU silversmith. Artists were limited to two entries and they had 160 artists. “By the time planning began for the next year, no one wanted to tackle it,” Schild recalled. “Jane Dykes stepped forward and said she’d do it, but that it would be outside in South Park around the gazebo. Only snow fences and tables would be used for displaying art. The rest of the group warned her of rain, but she was undaunted in her desire to see it moved outdoors.”
In 1964, Art in the Park was in South Park on the East side of the street in the Rose Garden near the playground. Snow fencing was used to hang artwork and tables to display 3-D work. Art in the Park was presented to a supportive and appreciative Lawrence with even more entries than the previous two years of the event. Jean Allen and Jeannot Seymour once again organized the art display portion of what was now a one-day event. Entertainment was Central and West Jr High bands.
In 1969 they had six musical groups providing entertainment throughout the day and 24 banners hanging in front of the recreation building.
In 1970 the art was still being hung on snow fencing. The artists made banners to hang in the park. All different kinds of banners that were hung from the trees. 121 artists hung 344 pieces of art. It was some time during the 1970’s that food vendors started selling food on Massachusetts St. And one of the main symbols of Art in the Park (and the Lawrence Art Guild) was the black bird created by Jeannot (jano) Seymore. This bird would be used for the next twenty or more years.
1972 Was the first year the event was forced by rain inside back into the Rec Center. The Sweet Adeline's sang and Celia Smith sold her piece “Santiago” for $400. And a 25 foot banner was stretched across Mass St announcing the event. Art in the Yard (with tips on lawn and garden care) became a part of the event.
1978 Jan and Jack Gaumintz chaired the event.
In 1980 Grace Carmody was Vice President, Helen Martin was secretary and Mary Lou Wright was President.
Picking up steam; a juried venue...
1982 Bob Zerwekh was President and Art in the Park entries were juried as a member show for Guild artists.
1991 - The Art Guild sponsored an All Members Shows (not juried), Gallery Lawrence (which brings appropriate artwork to the business community), Invitational Exhibits, Art in the Park and Rotating Exhibits of members work at public buildings of Lawrence. These shows were to provide broader exposure for local artists and encourage community support for local artists.
1993 - After two failed attempts because of rain Art in the Park moved to the Holiday Inn Holidome. The first of three years of a row with rain. 1993, 1994 & 1995.
1996 - was back outside. Laura Waldo Semken was one of the featured artists “precious nothing vials” Odd little things in vials.
1997 - The Calhoun County Cloggers and an accordion band performed and there were 70 participating artists.
2001 - It rained! It poured! It came up fast and artists were caught off guard...but it is May, right?
2002 - It rained part of the way through, not all day. We celebrated our 50th anniversary. We had about 150 artists.
2003 - Severe weather caused an early exit at 3pm.
On and on we go... and we continue to grow for the benefit of artists!
A special thanks goes to Jennifer Unekis for putting together this brief history.
The Lawrence Art Guild Association mission includes the following articles of incorporation as a not-for-profit organization in the State of Kansas.
- To develop among educators, artists, patrons of art, and the general public such united effort as will secure individual opportunity for an active working understanding of art and the varied art fields;
- To promote community interest in the arts, art groups, artists and artistic events, and to encourage freedom of expression through art forms;
- To unify and strengthen the individual interest groups within the organization;
- To exhibit to the public the work and accomplishments of area artists;
- To foster cooperation with other organization and agencies active in the field of art;
- To sponsor annual art festivals and exhibits;
- To sponsor other events that further promote the organizations objectives to support area artists.
Lawrence Art Guild Executive Board Members
Maria S. Martin - President
Maria joined the Guild in 2013, and has served two years as Vice President before accepting the Presidency in May 2017.
Since moving to Lawrence, KS in 1984 Maria became active in the art community. While working at the KU Museum of Anthropology 1984-2000 she began coordinating the Lawrence Indian Arts Show and continued that through 2003 when the Indian Arts Show scaled down to only the Haskell Indian Arts Market an ongoing national market for Native North American Indians artisans. In 2002 Maria was recipient of the Phoenix Award in Arts Education for her work with the Lawrence Indian Arts Show. In 1998 through 2007, she opened and operated Southwest and More, a gallery specialty shop specializing in American Indian art, jewelry as well as Mexican imports.
In 2013, Maria returned to painting. As an abstract artist, she studied art in Philadelphia and then at The University of Kansas in Lawrence and continues to take art studio classes and technique workshops. She works from her home studio as well as SeedCo Studios in the Warehouse Arts District. Maria is semi-retired, works part-time at Ditto Resale Boutique, enjoys traveling, and enjoys country living with her husband Don, two cats and two Longhorn steers.
Ex-Officio President - Vacant
Dennis K. Hayward - Vice President
Dennis has been a member of the Art Guild since 2013. He has served as vice-president for the past year. He has spent over 30 years in the consulting industry. Previously he has served on other non-profits including Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, Inc. (L.I.N.K.) as Treasurer, and volunteered at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center providing client and technical support for the telemedicine program.
Currently retired, he owned his own consulting business EFM Consulting, LLC, providing emergency and facilities management services to state, county, and local clients across the country.
Linda Baranski - Treasurer
Linda has been a member of the Lawrence Art Guild since 1998. She has served the Art Guild as an executive Board member as secretary, vice-president and president, prior to becoming the current treasurer.
In 2002 Linda co-founded the Library Friends of Art at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library to support the library’s Sabatini Gallery. For many years she has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Red Barn Studio in Lindsborg, Kansas.
Linda received Lawrence’s Phoenix Award as Arts Administrator in 2009. She served as president of the Lawrence Art Guild for four years and as Gallery Director of the Lawrence Art Guild’s 1109 Gallery in Downtown Lawrence. In 2015 she was re-elected as President of the Lawrence Art Guild, serving two years until her election as Treasurer in 2017.
She is a mosaic artist, painter and printmaker living in Northeast Kansas. She creates mosaics using Italian vitreous glass tile, smalti, stained glass and found objects. Her paintings, monoprints and mosaics range from Realism to Abstract Expressionism and use oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media. After studying mosaic restoration in Ravenna, Italy, the direction of her mosaic work took on an iconic quality.
JanetLynn Zuk - Secretary - Bio should arrive shortly...