One of the best things that artists can do to advance their ability is to meet other artists, to talk to them, and to watch them work. This has been as true in San Luis Obispo County as it has been in art colonies from Cape Cod to Carmel—places where artists began to congregate and form art associations.
As early as 1946, a handful of painters, enjoying Harold Forgostein’s adult education classes, gathered regularly to paint alongside other artists, to watch them work, and see how they interpreted the same scene. One such group in San Luis Obispo has been known as The Thursday Painters for over seventy years.
The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art celebrates this creative history with its exhibition entitled Thursday Painters: A Legacy, on view August 14 through October 1, 2017. Curated by Ruta Saliklis, SLOMA’s curator and director of exhibitions, Thursday Painters: A Legacy is a gathering of paintings by artists John Barnard, Chuck Crotser, Alice Cushing, Jan French, Margaret Jorgensen, Joan Sullivan, Chris Van Winkle, and Deborah Veldkamp. Saliklis credits the assistance from artists Deborah Veldkamp and Joan Sullivan, both who have helped organize this group over the years, with helping tell the story. Not everyone who has been a Thursday Painter can be shown. The historic references are sketchy—this exhibition is more like a typical Thursday Painters outing—it’s who showed up on a hot summer day.
The early roots of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art were greatly influenced by groups of artists such as The Thursday Painters. By 1952 the San Luis Obispo Art Association was formed by some of the same painters from those early years. The Art Association become the San Luis Obispo Art Center in 1997, and was renamed the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in 2011.