1984 - Present
Written by Historian, Ann Clayton (metalworker) from materials in the archives
The original vision of a few Lexington artists’ survives daily in the studios, the workshops, the classes, the gallery exhibitions and the annual sales events at 130 Waltham Street. Here, lovers of and makers of fine art thrive as a community of independent creative souls joined by one goal; to share the love of their craft. They do this by coming together regularly guild by guild to explore new methods and techniques and to practice improving on years old developing skills.
The Lexington Arts and Crafts Society is still a collection of artists and those who support artists to keep the crafts alive; to inspire and teach others and to be an active part of the Lexington community. Artists from LACS now regularly display their crafts during open houses and historical events. Our members range from full-time commercial artists, to retired art teachers, to artists who practice their craft as a hobby and work fulltime in other fields, to young artisans, just starting out who can work independently. Many of our members started by taking classes and eventually became Society and Guild members.
Each year, since 1960, the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society present a number of art scholarships in order to further art education at accredited art schools and colleges for young people. The majority of this funding is awarded to members of the graduating class of Lexington High School, who are selected from candidates recommended by the L.H.S. Visual Arts Department. The remainder of this funding is allocated to L.H.S. graduates who are presently enrolled as art majors and have demonstrated academic achievement in their chosen artistic field.
Thanks to a very active member and past Society President, Jean Hart, Society members participate in the Lexington Patriot’s Day, Discovery Day, Art Walk, and other local events in addition to those scheduled at the Society each year. Examples of members’ work are regularly on display in different Lexington businesses including local banks, Wales Copy Center, and local restaurants. The Potters began making “bowls for hunger” and selling them as a fund raiser for the Lexington Food Pantry; the Needle workers regularly get together to knit hats for those suffering through cancer treatments and the LACS has opened their doors to other groups with similar missions that need meeting space.
We have seen in these past 75 years that not all guilds survive; some Guilds come and some go. A Basketry Guild was formed in the late 1990’s that thrives today. In the beginning, there were performing artisans as a part of the Society with a Theatre Guild which was disbanded in 1960 and a Music Guild which existed for only a short time. Other Guilds that are no longer with us are the Camera Guild; the Illustrators’ Guild; the China Painters Guild; the Gourmet Guild; the Leatherworkers’ Guild; the Rug Hookers’ Guild and most recently the Miniature Arts Guild.
The Miniature Arts Guild was formed in late spring, 1980. It was a spinoff of Dolores Founding’s miniature furniture classes. Their first fair offering was a room box of George Washington’s bedroom at Valley Forge. This contained pieces that members had made. The guild started with 17 members and voted to limit membership to 30 artists. Their purpose was to “share in the appreciation and creation of miniature arts while having fun at the same time”. By 2004, the guild had only 7 members and with “teary eyes and heavy hearts”, they disbanded at their last meeting on May 27, 2004.
At about the same time as the Society was mourning the loss of the Miniature Arts Guild, a new guild was forming made up of artists using a medium that had not even been developed when the Society started in 1935, polymer clay. The Polymer Clay Guild applied for Guild recognition in 2005. Their members quickly became involved in the organization and as of the 2009 Holiday Marketplace Sales, raised the third most funds with their guild sales to help pay for regular maintenance and operations of the Society for the next year.
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