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The art of creativity can yield breathtaking results Richard Peña | Sat, Aug 23 2014 12:00 PM

I have, from time to time, interviewed individuals or small groups and then written about them in a segment I call interesting people. Being around such folks gives one a feeling that all is right with this old world. How about if you are in the company of some 40-plus of them?  Then the comfortable feeling knows no bounds.

I experienced such a thing the other day when I went over to St. Marks Lutheran Church and there in the church’s large hall sat in on a light luncheon meeting of the Chula Vista Art Guild.

I had been alerted to the Chula Vista Art Guild sometime back by a long-time colleague and friend, Beverly Sanchez. 
Beverly is one of those activists in the valley involved in various community endeavors.  She is one of the principal performers with the Merrie Ukes, the local ukulele unit and, for many years, has been involved in the visual arts, an accomplished artist, we might add. She is also the secretary of the Guild. She was my hostess for the day and drove me to the meeting of the group.

When it comes to longevity we might say that the art guild has been around longer than most community organizations. They tell us that the organization was founded in 1945 by a local artist, Alfred Mitchell. The literature tells us that he was an impressionist in an age when impressionism was the norm in Europe.

It is said that local painters could vie with the works of Europeans thus putting the locals on a lofty plateau.  They had many exhibits in their early days and competed quite favorably with the more experienced painters and their unit in San Diego.

As with many other organizations the artists in the Guild, in 1965 thought it might be a good idea to incorporate.  So, in December of that year articles of incorporation were filed with the state and the Chula Vista Art Guild Incorporated was born.

The meeting the other day was conducted by the Guild’s president, Nancy Scirto, an artist in her own right.  The principal entreaty by the president to the members is to start paining now in preparation for the Twelfth Annual Community Art Show that will run from Sept. 22 to Oct. 26.  The location will be the main exhibit room of the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center.  This is, by far, the biggest exhibit of its kind in the South Bay and it promises to attract images from far and wide.  The motivation for entrants is enticing since it offers cash prizes that are topped by a first-place $500 stipend.  All-in-all there are more than $1,000 in prizes.

During the meeting I had the pleasure of sitting between two old friends, Sharon Floyd and Joan Earlbeck. Ms. Floyd and I go back more years than I care to remember. We were in the same graduating class at San Diego State University and her parents were neighbors of ours, being Sweetwater Manor denizens. Ms. Joan was a member of the Merrie Ukes and also a watercolor student with me.

After the business portion of the meeting the members gathered for an educational exhibition by member Anna Lohse.

Her project was the painting on suitcases of various animals or other things using a template.  The idea, of course, is to readily recognize your bag as it makes its circuitous jaunt on the baggage turnstile at the airport. 
I kind of wished that I had some sort of identification on mine on my recent trip back east.

As a follow-up I went to the Norman Park Senior Center the next day and observed some of the guild members at work on their art projects. Darlene Hummel has a small group that meets there each Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.. The center calls them the Social Arts Group. I call them a decided asset to the community in making what could be drab lives quite a bit brighter.

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