The Slow Decline (1967-1978)

     When the National Endowment for the Arts initiated an artist-in-residence program in 1969 at the high school level, San Diego High was chosen as one of those throughout the United States to participate. Jackson Woolley became the first artist-in-residence involved locally.
     The Archives of American Art, with headquarters at the Detroit Institute of Art, introduced a program to collect data about regional artists, past and present, throughout the country. Warren Beach enlisted the aid of painters Jane Fletcher and Mina Pulsifer to assist him with this worthwhile project.
     During the early 1970's Warren Beach served on the Board of the Guild even though he was no longer the Gallery Director.

     Warren Beach gave an oral interview to Myra Alleger, recorded by the San Diego Historical Society on March 19 & March 28, 1980. The following is a transcript from that interview:
MA: "I wanted to ask briefly about the San Diego Art Guild. I see it mentioned often, and…
WB: (Have fun.)
MA: We're almost through here. It seems to be a somewhat closed corporation. What is the membership? I don't mean the numbers; I mean what kind of people are in the guild itself?
WB: Hopefully it is an organization of artists who are basically professional artists. The main activity is painting or sculpture or graphics, or what have you. I think that's true to a large extent. During most of the time I was at the Gallery the only thing you had to do to get in was to pass a jury of peers, usually I think five people who would look at some of your work and whatever background material you had, and decide whether they thought you were good enough. And then they got a little tighter and require now, if it's still true, that you get into a certain number of exhibitions they recognize as quality shows, nationally, or locally, or what have you.
     I, myself, due to my years in the gallery was made an honorary life member. I don't think it's even called honorary, but nobody has asked me to prove that I've gotten in a certain number of shows. Every couple of years or three years there's a review of this sort of thing. Also the relationship of the gallery is that they are a committee of the Fine Arts Society because of the tax set-up.
     Usually we lent the space and gave them practically all the support that they received and help in sending out mailings and what have you. But they have as of recent years become active in a program that does raise funds, fun affairs and speakers and things of this sort that there was, just before I left the gallery, and the questions did come up of the financial relationship. So the budget actually comes under the overall computations of the Fine Arts Society. They also are an eleemosynary institution just as the whole museum is. That's a good word, too."

     It was reported in the November 20, 1969 minutes that at the annual meeting, the adopted bylaws of September 25, 1966 amended on April 19, 1969 were presented. Henry Gardiner the new director was introduced. "The chairman (Earl Saunders) reported that there was $1,158.18 in the treasury as a result of the fundraising campaign 'Illusions '68' and the California South VII Show."
     Discussion took place about criteria for Guild exhibitions and creating a new Art Education Project with San Diego City Schools. Guild members could be guest speakers in art classes or host to small groups of art students on a volunteer basis. The purpose for this "Artist for the Asking" program was "To provide a personal encounter service between the professional creative artists and craftsmen in San Diego and art students in San Diego City Schools."

     Recorded in the minutes of April 17, 1970, the project with the schools was called "Artists for the Asking" and thirteen artists participated. Art Specialist for San Diego City Schools, Dr. Leven C. Leatherbury, provided materials through his office.
     On May 20, 1970 this was written in the Guild minutes:
     "As a fundraiser for the late summer 'A Fashion Show' will perhaps show some zany ideas by artists and Fellini type setting. To be held out of the Gallery."
     On June 17, 1970 this was written in the Guild minutes:
     "Mr. Gardiner stated that the first prize winner (with his approval) to have one-man show at Fine Arts Gallery - 2nd, 3rd, & 4th place will have a combined show…"
     On July 15, 1970 this was written in the Guild minutes:
     "San Diego County Fair Art Show - was judged as not acceptable for Art Guild membership because two complete shows were exhibited as one. Also, Milford Ellison had said it would be pre-juried against pornography" (During the Board meeting on August 12, 1970, the statement about prejurying was stricken from the record, "since we have no evidence to that fact.")

     Naomi Baker wrote this article for the Evening Tribune on July 21, 1970:
     "The guild's autumn show has added significance because Henry Gardiner, director of the San Diego Fine Arts Gallery recently announced his offer to give a one-man show as an award to the artist whom the juror selects as first-place winner in the guild exhibition.
     Winners of the second, third, and possibly fourth places, as selected by the juror, will have the privilege of participating in winner's group shows, Gardiner said. All of these shows will be at later dates and the exhibits will be selected by Gardiner, his curatorial staff and the participating artists."

     Naomi Baker wrote this article for the Evening Tribune on July 24, 1970:
Exhibition to Include California and Hawaii
     "For the first time in its history, the San Diego Art Guild will have a competitive exhibition open to artists in the entire states of California and Hawaii.
     Stan Newcomb, guild chairman, said today that the Fine Arts Society's trustees board has approved the guild's proposal to extend the juried show to permit artists from the two states to submit entries in the 1971 spring show to be held in the Fine Arts Gallery.
     The suggestion of the expanded exhibition came from Eric Bass, the guild's representative on the society's trustees' board.
     The new plan will be in lieu of the guild's former California: South exhibitions, limited to entries submitted by artists from Santa Barbara south.
     Newcomb expresses his delight with the trustees' action which will increase the guild's stature."

     Henry Gardiner traveled to Hawaii and San Francisco as the selected juror for this exhibition.
     In the Guild minutes of August 12, 1970 it became official that the California South Show (Spring Show) expand to become the "California-Hawaii Regional".

     The minutes of September 16, 1970 again recorded, that accepting the Art Institute show was discussed and "although it is by far their best show to date, it is still not quite up to standard and therefore not an accredited show."
     The Stan Newcomb Fashion Show, called the "Style Show" was held by the Guild on August 19th and 20th, 1970 at 12:00 noon at the Travelodge Tri-Arch Hotel on Harbor Island. The proceeds were used to underwrite guild exhibitions at the Fine Arts Gallery. Mrs. Leslie C. Hill was the chairman of this luncheon event. Guild members designed table decorations and fall fashions along with hand-fashioned gold and silver jewelry were modeled. (The Guild, under Stan Newcomb's guidance held another fashion show on August 26, 1971 and another on September 14, 1972.)
     On January 15, 1971, Richard Allen Morris opened his prizewinner one-man show at the Gallery.
     This was recorded in the minutes of March 17, 1971:
     "Mr. Gardiner reported that the artists who entered works in Hawaii were among the best artists in the area and were very pleased to be included in a 'state-side' competition…
     He commented that since Hawaii has a state sponsored educational program in the arts they have excellent teachers."

     Henry G. Gardiner was the judge for the California-Hawaii Regional of 1971. He selected Hawaii's exhibits in Honolulu and juried the Northern California entries form slides. Southern California entries were juried here. From 578 entries, 84 were accepted; four works were selected to receive a $500 cash award each and two purchase awards were given. Henry said this about his jurying criteria: "I wasn't thinking of diversity. My objective was to select work of excellence in the various categories." Stan Newcomb, Guild Chairman said: "The San Diego Art Guild, is pleased to be part of this project to introduce the art of our Westernmost state of Hawaii to California for the first time and to be able to include all of California as well for the benefit of San Diego art admirers."

     On April 30, 1971, the Guild approved a June, July, and August competitive show to be held at the Unitarian Church. At that time Guild membership was 156.

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