WASCO Celebrates 23 Years
WASCO will celebrate its 23rd birthday on June 2016
Chris O'Neel 433-8835 firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Vice President
Richard Schmidt 275-0365 email@example.com
2nd Vice President
Diana Liebe 739-7285 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rae Ann Williams 575-1676 email@example.com
Joan Wale 433-6714 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joan Wale 433-6714 email@example.com
Ten Years of WASCO History
WASCO was started in 1993 by three newcomers to Santa Rosa who met each other in the art community and talked about what they had left behind in their previous communities – a group specifically for watercolor artists.
Charlie Gredslfi had come from New Jersey and had a strong back ground in arts education in the schools. He developed a list of ten things this group could achieve, and most of these goals have been met.
Bill Anderson came from San Francisco and was a corporate attorney just reaching retirement age. He fully supported the idea of having such a group to further enhance his watercolor and drawing vocation.
Lindy Westgard had lived in St. Paul, Minnesota and had access to two large watercolor groups and three art centers where watercolor workshops were taught.
We started talking to people and developed a list of interested members. The early group met once at the invitation of Char Wood at her home. But she encountered a time conflict and could no longer work on the club idea, so she gave us her list of names.
Nothing Binds Like a Mutual Dilemma!
From then on, we tried to meet regularly – that became the challenge that held the groundbreaking group together – where were we going to meet next time? In the downtown mall community room, in Karl Wahlburg’s gallery in Railroad Square, in the gazebo at the park (Bring your own lawn chair!!), at the Kenwood Community Room, in the Sonoma county Board of Education Building (which room would they give us each month?). In our third year, we were able to have demos at the meetings. Finally, we joined Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center – after three or four years of being vagabonds. As it happened, I had been President of the Santa Rosa Garden Club, so I knew about the center.
A Bumpy Road Leading to Friendships
In structuring the club, the first years were the hardest. Some of our meetings were full of discord – Charlie felt he was too controversial, so he stopped speaking up or even coming to the meetings. Gradually, we elected officers. Bill Anderson was the first president.
– President 93 - 94
We wrote bylaws and found a way to become part of the Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma County, so we could use their insurance and their non-profit status. In addition they would handle our money. Bill Anderson handled this part.
We became fast friends and worked together to initiate the ideas on Charlie’s list. The circuit (venues), for instance, was his idea. We copied the procedures of the Danville/Alamo Art Club on that project.
The name, Watercolor Artists of Sonoma County, was adopted at the November 1993 meeting by members voting. I think Charlie came up with the name WASCO. So we wouldn’t tread on the toes of the “water spirits” – they were a group that met and painted together regularly.
“If you enjoy watercolor and want education, comradery, and growth, then participate in this organization and give energy to WASCO – keep it going.”
– President 1996
The newsletter that was so vital to the organization was prepared a few times by Rod Lee. But his head wasn’t in the job, and Edie Goodban came along with a Journalism background from UC Berkeley. Her newsletter was professional from the very beginning. We were always aware of our expenses so we took the newsletter to the cheapest place to get it copied each month.
Joan Wale took all the minutes at the meetings and started a membership roster – so important if people were to become part of the group. She typed up anything we needed in perfect order so we looked professional from the start.
Nancy Rood took care of membership and did an excellent job.
It was expensive to be a member of the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center but without it, we couldn’t exist. Gradually, we gathered more members, bought an overhead mirror and established regular meeting with demonstrations. Susan Lee arranged these speakers.
– President 94 – 96
I remember driving up to Willits to visit Jeanne Koelle, an advertising agency owner who agreed to do our logo and club signature at no charge. She was also a watercolor artist. She deisigned the logo, flyer and entry cards and all other WASCO materials.
Aqua Areas is Born in 1995
Finally, our first big invitational art show needed our attention. Rod Lee took that project under his wing – he had done big shows before retirement – not art shows but never the less he was gung ho! At first we limited the participants in Aqua Areas to residents north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Jeanne Koelle thought of the name Aqua Areas. The board liked it. We were ready to work with the promotion director of Copddingtown Mall to hold the big show in their retail complex. We had many meetings to get that going – Rod and Susan Lee knew an excellent artist from the Bay Area to be the judge. And so it started. Many people make light work. Aqua Areas 1995 was born!
“Aqua Areas is a marvelous way for our members – beginners to advanced - and non-members to be able to be juried and judged in an exhibit. Our mission is to bring art to the general public and what better place than the mall. Lots of hard work each year but I believe it has been worth it.”
– President 96 – 98
Should We Stay or Should We Go Now?
I remember standing on a street corner with Bill and Charlie in Railroad Square after an opening at Karl Wahlberg’s gallery. We were talking about this dream we had, and we were at the point where if one of us said let’s forget it, the other two would have said you’re right. I’m glad no one voted no.
by Lindy Westgard