The history of the San Diego Visual Artists Guild, formerly known as the San Diego Art Guild, is unique to our world. The Guild, as I will refer to it, had its origins in the coming together over a century ago, of like-minded people with a common goal. They were artists and their supporters. Their goals were to exhibit fine art for our community's cultural enrichment, for the permanent establishment of a facility to showcase fine art, not only from all over the world, but representations of our own precious heritage and contemporary work as well, and to share the beauty of their art, through the latest technological advances, with the entire world community.
This history is not just a list of dates, names, and events, but a comprehensive document about people and the forces that shaped their actions. This is a people story. It is about how individuals worked together for the common good and despite strained and sometimes volatile relationships, kept their focus and succeeded where all other art groups had failed. It is the story about how together, artists and their supporters rallied their community for the creation of an art museum. It is a story of years of dedication and selfless giving of time, money, and expertise in the exhibition and collection of fine art. Although there have been similar experiences throughout our country; to this day, nowhere else has a collective of artists remained together. Nowhere else has an artist representative sat on the Board of Trustees of a major museum for so long and were crucial in the decision making process of the institution they founded. This is also a living history with the final chapter having been written right up to the date of publication.
As I researched this project, I noticed how time and time again each generation forgot what happened just a few years before, and the same problems kept resurfacing over time. This history was written with the purpose of resolving that pattern once and for all. What transpires in our future will now not ignore the lessons from our past and will allow all of us to experience a new and beautiful revival of the arts in our community.
Much of what is being written
is the result of the encouragement of many people supportive of this
project. In the Acknowledgements is a complete listing of those who
worked selflessly in providing research, documentary evidence, writing,
editing, and images for this historical project. The documentary evidence
came from newspapers (1904 - present), Guild newsletters (1950 - present),
minutes of Guild meetings, magazine articles, oral histories, exhibition
catalogs, membership rosters, bylaws, articles of incorporation, and
previous written histories and notes. The images came from the San
Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Historical Society, and many private
collections. To my knowledge, there has never been written, such a
comprehensive history of a large group of fine artists, fiercely independent
by nature, working together and persevering for a century and beyond.