GHS Art Collection approaching 100th Anniversary with book

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The Gardena High School Art Collection is widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding collections of California Impressionism in the country.  What began in 1919 as a lesson in art appreciation for the high school’s graduating senior class matured into an exceptional permanent collection, an art association, and a cherished community tradition.

The Gardena High School Art Collection enriched the lives of an entire community over three decades, leaving a tangible legacy of the community’s ideals.

The Gardena High School Art Collection is widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding collections of California Impressionism in the country.  What began in 1919 as a lesson in art appreciation for the high school’s graduating senior class matured into an exceptional permanent collection, an art association, and a cherished community tradition.

The Gardena High School Art Collection enriched the lives of an entire community over three decades, leaving a tangible legacy of the community’s ideals.

“The exercise in collecting and organizing an art exhibition exposed the students and the wider community to lessons in art appreciation, as well as in good citizenship, collaboration, and debate.  The collection still ties generations of students and community members together in Gardena,” said Eiko Kamiya Moriyama, an alumna of the high school and a board member of the GHS Art Collection.   “However, since the mid-1950s, the collection has been in storage and unavailable for viewing by the public in its entirety, with many of the paintings and frames in need of restoration.”

Now all of that is about to change.  And Gardena High School is hoping the community of Gardena will answer the call, ensuring the legacy of the Gardena High School Art Collection continues into the future.

Moriyama, along with Bruce Dalrymple and other GHS alumni, created the GHS Art Collection, Inc. in 2013 for the protection and preservation of the works of art owned by the Gardena High School Student Body.  They are putting a fundraising campaign in place to conserve the paintings and to underwrite an exhibition and publication featuring the collection in anticipation of its 100th Anniversary.  They are asking alumni and community members to contribute to the fundraising campaign.

The goal of the 100th Anniversary project is to document Gardena High School Art Collection’s extraordinary story of community collaboration and to preserve and protect the collection for future generations.  “The Gardena High School Art Collection, 1919-1956” will be a definitive study of the history and importance of the collection within a national context.  The 168-page catalogue, with reproductions of over 70 paintings and illustrations, will accompany an exhibition scheduled for October 2018 to March 2019 at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Gardena High principal Rosie Martinez believes arts engagement and civic participation promote social tolerance and strengthen the community.  Martinez believes the history and legacy of the Gardena High School Art Collection, which is at the heart of the school’s identity, provides the basis and rationale for an expanded arts program at Gardena High School.  She is founding a Creative Arts Academy with video production and graphic art studios that will open next year, and new art classes that will have a teaching component on the school’s own art collection.

Martinez has a dream, saying: “I want to be sure that every student who passes through Gardena High School leaves knowing about the collection and takes pride in their school’s rich history.“

A large part of enabling this dream to come true will be making the art collection and its extraordinary story fully available to GHS students and the public again in the centennial year in 2019.   According to Dalrymple, “The expenses for storage, insurance, and restoration of the paintings, and the publication of the book are daunting.  Although much has been accomplished, $150,000 is still needed to reach our goal.”  Donations may be sent to GHS Art Collection at P.O. Box 111, Gardena, CA 90248.  The tax ID number for GHS Art Collection, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is #37-1591566.

For more information about the 100th Anniversary project, please contact Bruce Dalrymple, GHS Art Collection, Inc., brudal@cox.net