La Jolla Art Association History
The La Jolla Art Association was formed in 1918 when a small group of artists and art lovers met for tea at the home of Miss Ellen Scripps. One of the art lovers, Mrs. Eleanor B. Parkes, conceived of the idea of forming an art organization to show the works of the artists.
The group supported the idea and selected Mrs. Parkes as their president. At the request of Ms. Scripps, she served in that role as long as she could, for thirty years. Some of the founding members of the group are still famous artists, including Maurice Braun, Charles Fries, Alfred Mitchell, A. R. Valentien, Alice Klauber, and William Templeton Johnson, an architect. The first art exhibition was at the Woman's Club in La Jolla in 1919.
In 1921, a new library building was being built at Girard and Wall Street, designed by William Templeton Johnson and funded by the community and Miss Ellen Scripps. Mrs. Eleanor B. Parkes and the librarian, Miss Waddell, approached Miss Scripps with the idea of adding another room to the building to be used as an art gallery, and the idea was supported and realized. The La Jolla Art Association managed the gallery and exhibited their works, which added to the library's attractiveness to residents and visitors.
The La Jolla Art Association survived through the difficult times of the Great Depression and World War II. After the war, the community of La Jolla began to grow and needed a bigger library run by the San Diego City Library System instead of the private Library Association of La Jolla. To keep the City of San Diego from taking over the art gallery space for the library, in 1955 the La Jolla Art Association signed a 50-year lease with the Library Association of La Jolla at the rent of $1.00 a year.
By 1968, the library needed more space and wanted to buy the existing property to build a new library or find another site. The local community wanted to keep the old library at the same centrally-located site. The La Jolla Art Association agreed to move to the adjacent Parker Building, owned by the Library Association of La Jolla, to enable the public library to stay at the existing site and use the extra room. The La Jolla Art Association's lease for rooms in the adjacent building specified the same $1.00 rent and 2005 termination date as the old lease.
In February, 2002, Dottie Stanley, President of the La Jolla Art Association, approached the Athenaeum about the impending end of the lease. According to the Athenaeum's plans, they needed the space and were not legally obligated to renew the lease. They informed the La Jolla Art Association that it would have to relocate when the lease expired.
This situation precipitated an immediate need for a five-year long-range plan that would evaluate the present position of the organization and determine its desired future position. In January 2005, under the leadership of Shandel Gamer, we moved to The Village Gallery at 7932 Ivanhoe Ave.
In 2007, realizing that we must leave the Ivanhoe location, LJAA President Rodger Heglar and his wife worked to find a place that would keep us in the Village. Fortunately, the Town Council offered LJAA space at their office on Herschel. In January 2008, we signed the lease with the Town Council for the LJAA Herschel gallery. We renovated the site including: hanging and lighting system installed, space refurbished and painted, storage added, etc. We were able to continue our monthly meetings and hold exhibitions. The site hosted our 90th birthday celebration in 2008, where we received an official Proclamation from Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders,
Eventually, a much larger space for the gallery was located outside the Village in La Jolla Shores at 8100 Paseo del Ocaso. After the appropriate renovations, the first exhibit opened on April 2, 2009.
The La Jolla Shores gallery closed in January, 2019, after 10 very successful years. The Board of Directors voted to combine forces with the Allied Artists Association of San Diego and the new organization continues as La Jolla Art Association. Our new home is in the lovely La Jolla Community Center.
Co-founder Charles Arthur Fries