Celebrating 70 Years of Artists

This article originally appears in the Ukiah Daily Journal on April 27, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.

Written By Kathleen Gordon-Burke

A workshop participant creating a watercolor painting.
A workshop participant creating a watercolor painting.
Members of the 70-year-old Mendocino County Art Association (MCAA) Board share their passion and vision for its present and future. Jeanette Carson, President of the not-for-profit organization, Kathleen Gordon-Burke, Vice President, and Diana Steele, Past President and Treasurer want the community to know, that artists of all media, skill levels and interests are welcome to join for inspiration, support, and camaraderie.
Jeanette Carson, President of MCAA, participating in a watercolor workshop.
Formed in 1954, MCAA, is the oldest art association in the County, its objective is to increase appreciation and knowledge of various art forms and to provide members with interesting, informative programs and workshops while also offering members the opportunity to advertise and promote their work.

Cindy Lindgren, Program Chair, has been the leading force in obtaining the instructors and coordinating the many demos and workshops presented every month by the association.

She states, “It is exciting to know that 12 times a year there is going to be some really inspiring artistic event where you can enhance your skills or sample a new medium. When you live in a small, rural community it takes a lot of energy to access these kinds of events. We are very fortunate to be able to stay right here in Ukiah and expand our learning and connect with other people who are sharing that creative interest; it”s wonderful.”

Polly Palecek, Member At Large, was first attracted to MCAA by the workshops presented by locally and nationally known artists while she was taking classes at the college as well as with Adel Pruitt. They provided a broad spectrum of knowledge and practice, but the workshops and demos put on by MCAA, specifically focused on technique, approach or process. Polly likes being with other artists, for the camaraderie and conversations about art. She says, “It is inspiring, encouraging and just plain fun!

Kathleen Gordon-Burke, Membership Chair, emphasizes that one does not need to be an artist to participate, and that the association is open to all skill levels. After a career in graphic design and advertising, she now puts those skills to the newsletter, posters and all things publicity, she also became involved in MCAA while taking classes from Adele Pruitt.

Dianna Steel, first became involved with the Association, and instantly became President, in 2019 because she wanted to put energy into an organization that had been so valuable to her.

MCAA President, Jeanette Carson, receiving instruction from Camille LaPointe Lyon in an association presented workshop.
Adele Pruitt, an original member of MCAA, demonstrating an oil painting technique to Student, Bev Rae.
She explains, “For an annual membership fee of $45 for an adult and $27.50 for a junior, the benefits are extensive and include reduced rates for the workshops and free entrance to the demos during the year. MCAA organizes all-day, hands-on workshops presented by locally and nationally renowned artists expert in their fields varying from acrylics, watercolor and collage to colored pencils and more. Members and non-members are welcome to participate. Additionally, there is a weekly drop-in, Open Studio on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Grace Hudson Museum Community Room where individuals can paint on a regular basis in the company of other artists. Membership also includes opportunities to display art at various local banks and stores.

Jeanette Carson comments, “We presently have 87 members and are always welcoming new ones. I really want people to know that it does not matter what skill level you have or even if you do not consider yourself an artist. We have total beginners, and they feel welcome. People here want to support each other’s work.”

She continues, “We are really interested in having people come check us out. The association has been maintained for a long time by a group of very dedicated people. We are taking MCAA into the future. The creation of a new website is an important step in this direction and kudos go to Sean Johnson of MendoWebDesign who has done an incredible job of representing MCAA, mendocinoartassn.org which now features the latest monthly programs being offered along with the registration forms, the monthly newsletter, a complete list of the year’s workshops, the Annual Show and Tell, Holiday Event, and annual Art in Our Gardens Tour, a list of all the benefits of membership and information on the MCAA Corner Gallery wall, and includes information for the 96 opportunities to exhibit art in four Savings Bank, West America Bank and two Schats Bakery locations.

The entire MCAA Board invites and welcomes others who might enjoy the experience of participating in what other artists have enjoyed for 70 years.