The pages of the old minutes book of the Wayne Art Center, although now a bit yellow with the years, bear testimony to the interest which that first meeting, called on March 5, 1931, by Miss Mary Walsh, aroused in the small group of men and women who attended it. During that Spring other meetings followed each other in such rapid succession that at times they occurred every week. There were as many ideas as there were interested people. And these ideas were developed and further formulated by the discussion that took place at each meeting.
Although there is no complete list of those who attended those meetings in the Spring of 1931, the following names appear from time to time in the early records: Miss Mary L. Walsh, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Shaw, Miss Bernadine Tolan, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur N. Edrop, Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Harris, Henry Andrews, Dr. and Mrs. Addison S. Buck, Mrs. F. A. Cajori, Miss Elvira Eckert, Miss Field, Mrs. Ross W. Fishburn, Miss Dora Howson, Mrs. Alda Makarov, Sydney V. Rowland, Miss H. Velma Turner, Miss Lillian Walter, Mrs. Rufus Waples, Miss Lecian Von Bernuth, Miss Elizabeth Gookin, George Borst, Maulsby Kimball, Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. McClure, Miss Beatrice Tees, Statts Cotsworth, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Tolan, E. deForrest Curtis, T. Bayard Beatty, Jr., Theodore B. Brooks, Harold Darr, George L. Harrison, Miss Margaret Herr, Miss Myra Paxton, Captain H. L. Jenkinson, Miss Girton, Mrs. Truxton Brodhead, Miss Lucas, Pendleton Watmough, Mrs. W. N. Stilwell, Mrs. Charles W. Bayliss, Christopher P. Cox, Mrs. A. J. County and William H. Lister. And doubtless there were others whose names were not recorded.
The scope of such an organization as was under consideration was discussed at each of the early meetings. In addition to the study of painting, drawing and sculpture, which was generally pretty well agreed upon, there were many other suggestions. Among these were the study of drama, music, English expression, literature and numerous arts and crafts.
Various names were suggested for this new organization. Among them were Arts and Crafts Center of Wayne, The Hobby House, The Avocational Guild, The Treasure House, The Workshop, The Alchemists and the Grashaw Studios. Finally, at the meeting held on May 14, “The Wayne Art Center” was formally adopted as the name of the new organization “because it needed no explanation and was definite and concrete.” However, the workshop in the Powell garage was to be known as the “Grashaw Studios,” the name being “in commemoration of Mr. Graham Shaw.” At this same meeting Miss Walsh was appointed to serve as executive secretary until September 1, 1931, with Mr. Harris as vice-chairman and Dr. Buck as secretary-treasurer.
At an earlier meeting the scope of work for the new Wayne Art center was defined by the two following motions made by Mr. Curtis:
“That an Arts and Crafts Center be started to encourage the appreciation of the arts by instruction and by providing work shops and a place in which exhibitions may be held.”
“That the Committee recommends that at this time, the center begin the instruction in drawing, painting, sculpture and music.”
These two motions were carried. But Mr. Andrews, still firm in his conviction that the way be left open for a wider field of teaching, moved an amendment that was carried, to the effect: “That any of the other branches of the Arts should be held under consideration for the future development of the Center.”
Two matters now became of permanent importance, namely, publicity in regard to the new Art Center and the financing of the project. Dr. Buck was the first chairman of publicity, to be succeeded later by Mr. Edrop. Newspaper notices and personal contacts were the media of this committee in arousing further public interest in the new project. In order to start classes in the summer of 1931, money was contributed by a number of those who were currently interested in the project. These were considered as active voting members, while those who showed their interest by attending meetings, but who did not contribute, were members without votes.
Total contributions for the first summer’s work in the Humbert Powell garage on Windermere avenue were slightly over 200 dollars. However, expenses were not heavy, either, since all instructors working under the direction of Mrs. McClure were volunteers. In all, some 136 enthusiastic students had been enrolled. So encouraged were the leaders of the new Art Center that plans were immediately laid for winter. With very little in the bank, letters were sent out to 350 residents of the community, inviting them to become active, sustaining or honorary members. Early returns warranted the formation of classes which could be carried on for at least the early part of the season.
Classes for children were scheduled for Saturday mornings. Those for older groups were planned for Tuesday afternoons and evenings, as well as Friday evenings. Mrs. McClure, Mr. Lister, and Mr. Watmough were instructors for adult classes in pen and ink, drawing and painting, while Mr. Borst taught classes in modeling.
And then as Winter progressed, plans were formulated for the incorporation of this new organization, under the official name of the Wayne Art Center. On January 6, 1932, this name was filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. On January 29 the Charter was approved and the corporation was recorded in the Court of Common Pleas by Judge John M. Broomall.
Subscribers to the Charter were the Misses Walsh, Turner, Howson, Gookin; Mesdames McClure, Fishburn, Tolan, Buck, Waples, Bayliss, County and Stillwell; Messrs Harris, Edrop, Tolan, Cox, Harrison, Curtis, Buck, Lister, Rowland and Watmough.
To be continued)