Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Arts and Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor has always, dating back to the early 1900s, has had a warm and welcoming relationship with the arts.   Live theatre, music, visual art, you name it, an it has had a presence in this community.

Today (July 27 to September 14, 2014) you will find the 15th Annual Juried Maritime exhibit at the Harbor History Museum.  Last month the Peninsula Art League held their annual summer art festival and Saturday they will hold a plain air paint out on the museum grounds which includes the grounds themselves, Gig Harbor Bay and the Austin Estuary Park.

The Downtown Waterfront Alliance and the Gig Harbor Gallery Association in conjunction with the City holds a special Thursday Night-Out event every second Thursday celebrating the visual arts along with demonstrations, music and other entertainment at various locations around the harbor.  There are over 12 galleries in Gig Harbor proper, and more throughout the greater Gig Harbor community.
1939 - The Sibellians

Tulip Time - Peninsula Singers

This long history made me think that a special paper entitled “History of the Arts and Crafts Club 1934-1935” would be of interest.  It shows how the more things change, the more things remain the same.  Some of the frustrations expressed in Mrs. Insel’s paper still happen I’m sure, though perhaps not the same frustrations between sexes.  But the economic frustrations, the charitable acts, still exist and are still met with within all organizations.  
1940 Recruiting Nurses for the war effort

This paper was written by Mrs. John H. Insel, Historian (of the Arts and Crafts Club).

The lot of the historian is a difficult one, particularly when the writer is compelled to deal with the hard facts as recorded in the “Minutes of the Last Meeting.”  History, in my opinion, should be framed in romance - not the common garden variety of romance known as love, but the romance of living.  So this writer is going to digress from the cold facts of the secretarial chronicle and endeavor to portray in words the ‘human side’ of the Arts and Crafts Club.

There have been many meetings during the club year of 1934-1935, September to May, when members of the Arts and Crafts club considered many things other than the program of theyr club endeavor.  Serious things, that is.  We thought of things like citizenship and patriotism, and love of one’s country and of one’s neighbors; of friendliness and service, of visions and dreams; and of practical ways of buttering one’s bread.

The courage of the women who crossed the continent in covered wagons is spoken of with reverence and awe, but this is the Black Year of a Bleak Depression, and the women of today have had to face trials, hardship and privation no less difficult than those women who followed the beckoning trial of blue horizons.  (The wail of a hungry child can be as terrifying as the scalping cry of an Indian).  Women still possess a ruddy courage and courage imparts to living a flavor wholly unknown to fear.

Feature the brave discussion of what to do with $2.33, the pitiful amount in our treasury at the beginning of the club year.  Similar to the fate of many other bank accounts, the Club’s funds were lost to our use with the closing of the local bank.  Later, we received a check of $15.80, 35% of our account, from the financial debacle and proceeded to spend it as the safest way of saving our money - by putting it back into circulation - but getting something for it.

The first endeavor of the club year was the making of pottery from clay obtained from pits located at Auburn, Washington.  The making of pottery did not originate with the members of the Arts and Crafts Club of Gig Harbor as it is one of the oldest arts handed down thru the centuries, but most of the designs from the ash trays to vases were decidedly original.  Some of the members attained a good degree of skill and many lovely things were fashioned from the clay.

With the advent of the Christmas season, our thoughts turned to Christmas cards.  The study of block printing was interested to Mrs. Sweet who generously coached the other members.

In the name of sweet charity for an orphan child at the Lacey Home, a doll was dressed and sent to Gladys Leammie in time for her birthday on February 24th.

For the balance of the club year, the members decided to make waste baskets of reed, an inexpensive and useful art.

To gain a broader contact with club work, we have become affiliated with the District Federation of Women’s Club, sending delegates to their several meetings.  The District Board Meeting of March 8th was entertained at the home of Mrs. L. M. Holt with other members of the club assisting the hostess.

New members have entered the club from time to time as vacancies occurred.  They have brought new ideas and new loyalty to the club’s ideals.  Others have resigned for various reasons, but in the majority of cases, their contact with the club was one of inspiration and friendliness.

Our husbands have been prone to scoff at our club and make mean remarks concerning our efforts, but the poor dears do not realize that they are very largely responsible for our passion for club gatherings.  We have banded together where we may air our views on everything under the sun without having to listen to a scathing belittling of our opinions.  However, on May 25th, we gave them a dinner and program, displaying the result of the year’s work.  Mrs. R. H. Berkheimer, Mrs. L. M. Holt, Mrs. George Campen, and Mrs. A. L. Hopkins winning prizes for their efforts.The hospitality of our homes has been extended for our club meetings.  We have “sat at table” in good fellowship and grace and the simple meal of soup, sandwich and coffee has become a feast.  The Arts and Crafts’ Club ’soup’ is a flexible dish - sometimes it has been delicious fried chicken, oyster stew, or goulash.  It has one characteristic, however, which never varies - it is always good.

Apart from the educational advantages received from our club association, we have had the lovely privilege of being “just friends.”  There have been joy and sorrow among us.  The happiness was greater because it could be shared; the burdens lighter because sympathy and understanding.”

1946-47 Sorella Club at Mrs. Betty (Sheldon) Stutz' home:  Mary Ellen Sehmel, Carol Quisinberry, Unknown, Jane Lambing, Dottie Morris

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