Thursday, June 26, 2008

Statistics for the 2008 election

Over the next week, I'll be assembling statistics that seem relevant to the 2008 Palette and Chisel elections. Unfortunately, the office tells me that only the book keeper can provide a lot of it -- and she may or may not return before the election.

So far, I've got:

1. Number of classes 17 (Winter 2004) ---- 18 (Winter 2008)

2. Weekly hours of open workshops 50 (Winter 2004) --- 60 (Winter 2008)

3. Cash in General Account (to be determined)

4. Cash in Building Fund (to be determined)

5. Number of Associate/Artist members (to be determined)

6. Breakdown of the major donors. (just how important has the Murray Foundation been to our
major projects ? I'd like to know)

7. Building improvements completed in last 4 years:

*new shelves for library
*new everything for kitchen
*repair and beautify back stairwell
*air condition entire building
*beautify front stairwell and front door
*new garden project in courtyard

(and other stats you think are important ? Let me know)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Election 2008

(Note: this is a cumulative post,
with new campaign literature
being added at the end -
eventually followed
by the voting results)

This is Val Yachik's explanation
for why he is running for a third term as President,
despite the term limits imposed by a bylaw amendment
approved by a 2/3 vote
at a quarterly membership meeting
in the year 2000.

Why does Val now say
that term limits
"was not passed by
the required number of members"?


Going back to at least 1990 (and maybe earlier) amendments to the bylaws were passed by a 2/3 majority of BALLOTS COUNTED. (including the 1990 amendment that established the position of Executive Director)

However, in 2004, when we went to modify the by-laws yet again -- Jan Tracy, an attorney then serving on the board, informed the board that a 2/3 majority of ALL VOTING MEMBERS was required for passage, and the board agreed to accept that as a requirement for all future changes (although a motion to this effect was never made)

This is a significantly steeper hill to climb -- since it is very difficult to even contact 2/3 of our voting members, much less get them to vote on something.

The complete bylaws can be found here, and the relevant section reads as follows:

Section 2. Amendments to by-laws. The by-laws of the Academy shall be amended as follows. Any Voting Member may introduce an amendment to these by-laws by submitting a proposed amendment in writing to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will review and clarify the proposed amendment and submit the proposed amendment to the Voting Members in writing not less than 5 days nor more than 30 days prior to the next quarterly meeting, at which time the Voting Members shall debate and vote on the proposed amendment, a 2/3 vote being required for passage.

And the term limit amendment reads as follows:

Amendment: No Elected officer and/or board member
may serve more than two elected complete terms in
any office. They may, however, serve in another office,
but will be precluded from serving in the same past
office for three full elected cycles.

Val is now saying that the 2000 bylaw amendment
was not approved by 2/3 of ALL VOTING MEMBERS
- therefore the motion never passed -
and he can run for a third term as President.


This is the letter that Ed Wentz
sent to the voting members, promoting his
own candidacy for President.

I like that he's ready for the P&C
to move beyond "Stage one"
(i.e. remodeling, improving our building)
but I disagree about "Stage two"
with it's emphasis on promotion.

Because what we really need is something
worth promoting.

Should we have more
famous artist special workshops?
I tend to agree with Val that we've got enough
(because they compete for space with open studios)
we create a new, large studio space
(like on the second floor of the coach house)

Instead, I would like to see our gallery
hosting important, non member shows
(but neither candidate has proposed this)

And, yes, I like the idea
of following our bylaws,
not because I'm a legal beagle,
but because its democratic structure
enables member participation.

(which is a very,very rare thing
in the world of
cultural not-for-profits)

This is Jim Kujaca's
campaign letter
on behalf of Ed Wentz

reminding us that if you like the
way the P&C looks today
(new kitchen, library, stairwell etc)

it's largely (though not completely)
due to the contributions
of Ed and Jane Ellen.

This is Val's second letter to the membership.

Note that he rejects the mission of
showcasing the "arts"
as he proclaims that
"The P&C was founded by artists for artists"

(and note that he gives scare quotes
to the word "arts",
but not to the word "artists")

But he fails to mention
that the founders vetted each other -
i.e. a person was an artist if he made
something that deserved to be called art.

In today's Palette,
an artist is anyone
willing to pay the annual dues.

So -- maybe
we really should be showcasing
art instead of "artists"

I like Val's emphasis on the open studios
(since this is the primary reason I'm a member)

And, I like how he doesn't want to make the P&C
"a culture center for the elite"
(although - I don't see how Ed, or anyone else, would disagree)

And I like his romantic passion for the aura of the place.
I think its sincere -- and I feel it too -- as does Ed
and most of the long-time members.

But I don't see any plans or goals here
for future growth.

These are Val's endorsements
for the directors and other officers

(and this should not be
considered a slate,
i.e. these candidates have not necessarily
endorsed Val or each other)

This is the absentee ballot

(if you're a voting member,
and you didn't get one in the mail,
print this one out and mail it in)

These are candidate profiles,
compiled, edited, and mailed
from the P&C office

Here's the contest
in which I am a candidate

What disappoints me about all these profiles ---

is that I read lots of biography,
but very little about issues,
and absolutely nothing
about how each candidate intends to contribute.

So though I know most of these candidates,
enjoy them as people,
and often admire them as artists,
I'm thinking
that what we have here are
the ingredients for yet another rubber-stamp,
do-nothing board.

It doesn't really make much difference
who is president,
as long the board takes itself seriously.

(postscript: I talked with one these candidates last night,
and he actually does have some ideas about improvements
he would like to make,
but the office asked him to keep his
profile short)

This is my letter
to the membership
regarding term limits.

Back in October of 2000
when the amendment was passed,
I opposed it,
since it was especially drafted
to remove me from the position of Treasurer
(nobody wants to be Treasurer, so usually,
just as with this year's election,
that candidate runs unopposed)

But now that I've seen
the enormous advantage
that an incumbent president has
by controlling the office
(and all communications, elections, and information associated with it)
I think term limits are very important.

Scott Tallman Powers
is one of our most successful young artists

In addition to her wonderful florals,
Diane Rath is also well known
as a very popular teacher.

Scott's and Diane's letters both came in the
same envelope
to serve as a kind of double-endorsement.

Both of them have apparently enjoyed working with Val
in scheduling their special week-long workshops
at the Palette.

Since there are no committees,
everything now goes through the president's office:
special workshops, classes, private studios,
and whatever gets displayed in the building.

It's been all up to Val.

Here is Jim Kujaca's second letter.

I'm not sure why he's gotten so involved.

He's got a private studio at the club,
and apparently raised some issues
at the May board meeting.
(but nothing appears in the minutes)

he realized that he was not insider,
but he didn't want to become one, either.

Voting results as follows:

Val Yachik 80 (President)
Edwin Wentz 31

Jack Beckstrom 86 (Vice President)
Chris Miller 26

John Dolan & Lenin Delsol unopposed

Rich Morrow 101 (Directors)
Mary Qian 98
Charlotte Arnold 88
Janet Tracy 82

Robert Pernau 33
Jim Kujaca 30

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Exhibit: Summer Suite III: Eclectic Garden

Joan Stachnik

Bodo Stolczenberger

Bodo Stolczenberger

Mary Klug

(sorry for the glare coming off the glass)

Mary Palmer

Mary Palmer

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Trip to Yunnan

Nancie King Mertz -

A hundred years ago
P&C members
went on painting expeditions
to the Ozarks and the Smokies.

This April,
several of them joined a trip
to Yunnan Province
in far southwest China,

and then exhibited a few of the results
in Nancie's Clark Street gallery.

Nanci Mertz

...and for unexplainable reasons
these paintings actually feel Chinese to me,
as if they had lived there for many years,
instead of just 4 weeks.

Nancie Mertz

Nancie Mertz

Especially this one,
which might have been done
by Xugu
(Shanghai - 19th C.)

Nanci Mertz

Nancie Mertz

Kathleen Newman

Kathleen Newman

Kathleen Newman

Kathleen Newman

Marcie Oleszkiewicz

The Accomplishments of 1915

1915 was quite year at the Palette and Chisel
(cartoon by J. Jeffrey Grant)

And here's the list accomplishments:

*21 new active members

*12 Painting exhibitions

*The Famous Abstract Show
*Cowbell (newsletter) had 12 issues
(and turned a profit)

*150 newspaper stories have been secured
(including 10 features, 3 magazine articles,
and 110 straight art stories)

*8 entertainment dinners
(including 2 Ladies' Nights)

*New Camp (at Fox Lake) has been established
(and paid for)

*Ad rates for the Cowbell have increased 900%

You can't top that!
(and we never would)

Do you notice the emphasis on publicity?
(many of these guys worked for newspapers)

And --- the emphasis on financial matters.

(which is why we still exist)

Here's a tribute to the Abstract Show,

painted by John H. Carlsen
(who, like those Medieval illuminators,
just couldn't leave human figures
out of his design)

Here's a story about the P&C's
notorious exhibit
of a collection of European book plates
which, as P&C President R.V. Brown notes,

"display a masterful disregard for draperies"

Equally provocative (and therefore newsworthy)
was this little jaunt to the Summer Camp
where the models posed nude in the forest.

(the model shown above was named as
"Miss Della Raymond",
presumably an honorably fictitious variation on
"Miss Della Rains")

And here's a provocative public display of Tableaux Vivants

"models were clad only in a spotlight
as it filtered through a gauze screen"

This year also featured a lecture-demonstration
by that cutting-edge artist from places East,
Ralph Helm Johonnot,
who proposed to paint words instead of models.
(way - way ahead of his time!)

So yes this was quite a year for the P&C.

But the "First Annual Abstract Show" would also be the last,
and the CowBell would soon cease publication for about 7 years.

It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that these guys
were mostly interested in having fun
by attracting attention
with either naughty nudes
or avant garde ideas.

And yet,
100 years later,
many of them are recognized
as collectible names in the auction world
(and a few have even made it into art museums)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Provocative Miss Rains

Born in Crockett, Texas in 1891,
Miss Della Rains
caught the attention
of Chicago newpapers in 1915
when she was working as an artist model
at the School of the Art Institute.

A Southern Lady of principle,
she proudly refused to drop her robe
in the presence of art students of color.

She also made headlines,
when her friends at the Palette and Chisel
helped her dump
a hapless suitor from Iowa.

"While Miss Della Rains (of Dallas, Texas, Suh) can tell you the difference between a palette, a chisel, a painter, and sculptor,she lays little claim to distinction as an artist except, well, except that she can and does "draw" the color line.

The model from the Lone Star State, you may remember, created a furor at the Art Institute of Chicago by refusing to pose before colored artists. A defiant toss of the head, a few pointed remarks about northern chivalry and the emancipation proclamation - and Miss Rains made her exit.

She didn't return to the Art Institute. She didn't need to - for she had sprung into fame overnight. Artists who had never heard of Miss Rains expressed a desire to meet her. Surely, they reasoned, a girl who could toss away a meal ticket with reckless abandon, even though prompted by the spirited pride of the South, must have a pretty fair opinion of her face and figure to command exclusive modeling.

They judge for themselves.

Letters, telegrams, phone calls. Miss Rains came. They saw. She Conquered. Today she is the uncrowned queen of Chicago's art colony, and exercising a royal prerogative, may look forward to the annexation of other realms in Land of Bohemia. New York artists have heard of her, and , 'tis said, are ready to hoist the white flag of surrender to a rare combination of grace, beauty, and girlish charm.

Among Miss Rains admirers was a wealthy Iowa farmer who wooed her away from the domain of the Palette and Chisel, but "Bohemia" would have none of this romance"

The rest of the farce can be read here,
the primary actors being
R.V. Brown (president of the P&C in 1915)
and John Phillips (president in 1916)

BTW -- Miss Rains continued to build
on her remarkable reputation.

She was the mistress of George Amos Dorsey,
professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago
(author of "Why we behave like human beings")

And she was the sister of Mrs. R.M. Granger
who was arrested in a hotel room
with William Isaac Thomas,
professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago,
(author of "Sex and Society")

Exhibit: Tre Femme

The "Tre Femme"
are Audry Cramblit
(sculpture instructor at the Palette and Chisel)
and two of her friends,
ceramicist Nancy Pirri and photographer Ted Preuss

Nancy Pirri

Audry Cramblit

Audry Cramblit

Audry Cramblit

(there were so many fragmentary pieces,
it felt like a gallery
in the Oriental Institute
presenting the results
of an archaeological expedition)