Of all the legacies James and Gerry Lawrence bequeathed Carson Valley, their living memory exists in the founding of what is now the Carson Valley Art Association.
First known as the Douglas County Artist Association, it was founded in 1967 with a membership of 26 artists.
They gathered together for weekly sketching sessions and workshops but, without an adequate meeting place, the group dissolved and lay inactive for several years. In 1976 the group reorganized under the name Carson Valley Art Association.
Beth Bosmans, one of the founding members and current president of the CVAA, and Elfriede Short have fond memories of those early days.
“Gerry was a school teacher. She used her school teacher manner, correcting us when we said something wrong,” Short said as she remembered the early days in the Lawrence studio.
In addition to Bosmans and Short, founding members included Leone Cloepil, Lois Jones, Luetta Bergevin, Elizabeth Johnson, Margaret Martin, Marge Cassina, Lynn Kelly Brown and Marie Lundergreen.
In 1977, the association planned the first art exhibit during the Carson Valley Day celebration which became an annual event. The first exhibit was hung in the old bank building on the corner of Fifth Street and Esmeralda in Minden. Only one small painting and a piece of hand written poetry was purchased at this first show.
Determined, the association tried again in 1978 when the 20-30 Club, sponsors of Carson Valley Days, offered them the use of the CVIC Hall. The show lasted two days and more than $500 in paintings were sold. In 1979 almost $3,000 of art work was sold. The association has used of the CVIC Hall for its art shows ever since. The growing success of the art shows sowed the seeds for the East Fork Art Gallery.
The founding members of the association were also some of the artists who were founding members of the East Fork Gallery, now located at 1503 Highway 395 in The Record-Courier complex in Gardnerville.
In 1982, the association awarded $500 to a Douglas High School student, enrolling in an accredited college to major in the field of visual arts. The CVAA continues to award at least one scholarship a year. In 2005, they dispersed $2,000 in scholarship money to three students. In recent years they expanded their guidelines for awarding the scholarship funds to include students pursuing careers in technologies of the burgeoning digital age, photography, as well as floral design and the performing arts. They have now added an additional scholarship to ongoing students of the arts who may re-apply for additional funds to continue their studies.
During the “Parade of Lights,” which is sponsored by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority, the association offers an arts and crafts event for children at the CVIC Hall. This event has become a highlight for the young and the young at heart. The artist members of the association offer art and craft projects, easy to complete, that children can accomplish in a small amount of time, to use for presents or decorations for their Christmas tree.
Many members offer seminars and workshops to the public, sharing their expertise in the different art forms. Artists like 80-year-old Elinor Skiles, a China painter since 1968, offers classes in the art form.
Alrene Origoni offers pastel classes in Gardnerville and is organizing a pastel society.
Reiko Hervin, internationally known water color artist, gives lessons at her home, the East Fork Gallery and also offers group classes through the Nevada Cooperative Extension. Artists like Mark Tompkins offers weekly classes in several mediums and teaches at the Western Nevada Community College. Tomkins is the son of Bob Tompkins, another CVAA member.
The senior Tompkins is a graphic artist and paints. Beth Bosmans worked in the schools and with Valley children.
Pam Brekas, current president for the Nevada Artist Association and CVAA member, a retired art teacher and abstract artist, offers workshops and demonstrations.
The association boasts a membership of 95 people.
During the monthly meetings of the CVAA, artists are brought in to demonstrate their techniques and discuss materials they use.
For more information about the CVAA visit Web site: http://www.cvart.org.
Contacts for the CVAA 2006:
President: Beth Bosmans 782-5606
Vice-President: Mary Sandhagen 267-5676
Treasurer: Helen Martin 782-8852
Secretary: Ron Clarke 782-8035
Membership at large: Nancy Clarke 782-8035
Publicity: Janice Frost 783-9626
Carson Valley Days Art Show: Margaret Biggs 782-3867
Douglas High School Scholarship Funds: Beth Bosmans 782-5606
Galleries offering workshops and lessons:
Artistic Viewpoints 783-0633
East Fork Gallery 782-7629