Friday, August 25, 2006

Richard Schmid

It only seems right that Richard Schmid should be the first P&C member discussed on this blog -- and, indeed, the first subject of any kind on this blog-- because he has been so instrumental to the life of this organization ever since he returned to it about 20 years ago -- an influence that is sustained through the organization that he helped to build -- and through his talented students who still teach here:

Romel de la Torre

and Clayton Beck.

Under his presidency in the late eighties, the P&C hired its first executive director - and by his participation in the annual auctions, sufficient income was produced to kick-start our growth as a serious not-for-profit arts organization. (These were auctions that would bring dealers from around the country -- and sales would run to $40-50 thousand dollars)

Into what had once might have been called a senescent social club for aging commercial artists, he gathered a group of very talented and ambitious young people, many of whom, like Scott Burdick and Rose Franzen, became the next generation of professional artists. (And actually -- it was a video (on public televison in 1989) of that group painting up on the third floor, that got me interested in joining)

In all his books, videos, workshops, classes (formal and informal) he took art education seriously -- not just as an income opportunity for the teacher -- but as a professional responsibility -- to advance the art of painting through the generations that follow.

(Please note: I've used the past tense in above text because Richard Schmid left Chicago about 10 years ago. But he is still very alive, and very much a member --and his website is here.)

Without members like Richard Schmid, the Palette and Chisel is just a neighborhood recreation center -- but with them -- it's the Palette and Chisel.


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