The Wayne Art Center, part 4

The second summer of the Wayne Art Center, that of 1932, proved as successful as that of 1931, when 136 children and adults were enrolled. In all there were five classes, including one for younger children, taught by Lawrence Taylor, another for older children, with William H. Lister as instructor and still another for women and older children, taught by Mrs. Charles A. McClure. These were all morning classes. In addition, Mr. lister taught drawing, painting and pastel one evening a week, while George Borst instructed a class in modeling and sculpture on still another evening.

This summer session was the last in these picturesque quarters, however. By fall, the officers and directors of the Art Center knew that their budget would not permit a monthly rental, no matter how small. Application was made to the Carnegie Corporation for possible financial help. Their reply noted regret, but stated that the year was one “when a great many requests were being made, and the appropriations in the field of the arts are necessarily being curtailed.” In October the Radnor Township School Board granted permission for the use of one of the rooms in the wayne School building for the sessions of the Art Center. Within a few weeks’ time, classes were under way in the Art Room of the High School. And until Mrs. Craig Atmore made her garage on her Louella avenue property available to the Art Center, the school continued to be its headquarters.

Activities of the organization were not confined to its classes, however. By the spring of 1932, the first of its long series of educational talks was scheduled, while June, 1933, saw the first of the many delightful garden parties that the forthcoming summer were to produce.

In August the Rev. Henry Mitchell gave a reading of “Enoch Arden”, under the auspices of the Art Center. This was presented with a musical accompaniment by Richard Strauss and was played by Miss Katharine Sixt. The reading was given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Waples, who then lived at 214 Windermere avenue.

A lecture on “Prints”, given in September, was scheduled for the High School auditorium. This lecture had been written by William M. Lorus Jr., curator of Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and was supplemented by a number of lantern slides explaining what really constitutes merit in a print. In addition there were four reels of moving pictures from the University Film Foundation illustrating the technique of etching, beginning with the pencil sketch and continuing through the various phases to the “pulling of the proof.”

A man locally famous for the windows in the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge and the Nevil Memorial Church of St. George, in Ardmore, was chosen for the next lecture which was not given until January, 1933. He was the well-known Nicole d’Ascenzo, of Philadelphia, who had accepted the invitation to speak before a Wayne Art Center audience because of his “realization that communities such as this Wayne of ours are encouraging . . . an awakening appreciation of the beautiful in the minds of men.” A capacity audience in the Radnor High School library greeted this well-known creator of the window “Revolution” in Washington Memorial Chapel, as he traced the development of the art industry in England and on the Continent. Slides of his own masterpieces and samples of glass were used by way of illustration.

The next speaker was one of even closer local interest, when in March Oscar Doyle Johnson, of St. Davids, spoke on the “Aesthetic Value of Italian Primitives.” Mr. Johnson, a writer of versatility, then lived with his parents, whose collection of paintings in their St. Davids home was always so generously shared with any in the community who were interested in seeing them. Mr. Johnson’s opening lecture period was so interesting that plans were immediately made for a weekly series of informal talks and discussions on Italian painting to be led by him. These were held in the library of the High School during the spring of 1933.

And then in June came the first garden party of the many that were to be sponsored by the Art Center. Held in the garden of the home of Dr. and Mrs. H. G. Fischer on Bloomingdale avenue, the party featured an outdoor exhibition of the work of the students in addition to its many novel features of entertainment.

(To be continued)