Our History – 1970-1975

The Lynnfield Art Guild establishes itself in the broader community

The early 70’s were an active time for the newly formed, vibrant Guild which was described as “the largest and most active in the area” and included members from the North Suburban area and New Hampshire and Vermont!

Under the Presidencies of Sally Cleary, Joyce Franklin, Susan Hyer, and Lynne Perkins, when membership was still $5 ($3 for Associate and $1 for students) and a first class stamp was 6 cents, the Guild offered weekly workshops “to bring together those who do not find the time or the space in their homes to pursue their painting.” These workshops were held at various times in South Hall, Lynnfield, at Phil Perkins’ studio, and – most interesting – for a period of time in the then new multi-media room at the Lynnfield Library, which was enabled by funding for an arts center with Title I funds – “one of the largest ever given in this state to a library.”  For a time, the weekly offering included free easels and coffee provided by the Library!

The program year began in the early 70’s in September with an annual Champagne “get acquainted” party at a member’s home; demonstrations started in October and ran through May with the annual judged show most often held in June.  The breadth and variety of demonstration offerings was astonishing including the following:  egg tempura painting, printmaking, industrial design, Polish paper cutting, creative techniques, sculpting, pottery and ceramics, woodcuts, and creative painting.  Also offered were sessions on The Magic Of Color and an inspirational speaker (who was also a professor of drawing at the MFA School).  Noted artist demonstrators included Betty Lou Schlemm and Helen Van Wyk.  Creative offerings included a bus trip to the DeCordova Museum in lieu of a demonstration, film showings to illustrate new photography techniques, and “Art In Action” which featured members painting inside the Meeting House as onlookers viewed them.

The twice-yearly shows often involved over 90 members’ work and raised impressive sums of money as members were required to give 10% of the purchase price back to the Guild. In 1972, a record number of 214 paintings plus crafts were shown. The shows often featured floral arrangements by the local flower groups and background music. A list of paintings sold was published after each show. The Guild also organized shows at diverse places including the North Shore Mall (with accompanying artists in action), the Arts Festival in Lynn and the Thompson Club.

In the early 70’s LAG joined with representatives of many local guilds to create a Combined Art Association with the initial goal “to establish a centrally located facility for members to use for individual and combined activities.” In June 1975 in conjunction with the Lynnfield Bicentennial the Guild hosted an Arts Festival and on the 14th of June featured artists’ work on the Commons and a parade!