Overview of the Collection
Special Collections & Archives
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
P.O. Box 4004
105 Garfield Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54702 – 4004
Reference Code: USGZE UHC 345
Accession Number: 13-026
Collection Number: University Historical Collection 345
Creators: Eau Claire Area Art League
Title: Eau Claire Area Art League Records
Quantity: 4 linear feet (5 archives boxes, 2 oversized boxes)
Location of Collection: A9/1c, A3/1f
Languages: Record materials are in English.
Summary: The Eau Claire Area Art League was the first established art association in the Chippewa Valley. The collection consists of financial records, activities, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, awards, photographs, and other general files from the inception of the League in 1944 until it disbanded in 2013.
Biographical / Historical Note
The Eau Claire Area Art League (ECAAL) was founded in July 1944 by Ruth G. Saxon under the name Eau Claire Art Club. The name was changed in 1946 to the Eau Claire Art League. In 1993, the name Eau Claire Area Art League was adopted to reflect the expanding membership from the surrounding communities of Altoona, Augusta, Cameron, Chippewa Falls, Colfax, Elk Mound, Fairchild, Menomonie, Mondovi and Osseo.
Over the years, the League rented apartments for studio space in various locations until a permanent rent-free location at the Eau Claire Parks and Recreation building on Oxford Avenue was obtained in 1970. In the 1990s, monthly meetings were held at Hope Lutheran Church and later in various area restaurants.
One of the League’s most popular events was the Silver Tea and Bazaar fund raiser. Held at the Elks Club Auditorium, art works by the members of the league would be displayed. With declining popularity, the Holiday Tea and Bazaar was reluctantly discontinued in 1959. In 1966 until 1981, the Art League painted Christmas scenes on the windows at the Mount Washington Nursing Home.
In 1955, the ECAAL hosted their first outdoor art fair at 2nd and Water Street studio. It was titled “Sidewalk Art Show.” The Sidewalk Art Show became their most popular fair. In following years, the group held annual shows outside the shops at Putnam Heights Shopping Center, Jaycette Park on State Street, and Owen Park. By 1967, each member was to prepare at least 10 paintings for the art fair. Art League members also displayed their work at various businesses in Eau Claire as well as churches, schools, and libraries. In 1975, the League cosponsored the first indoor art fair, held at London Square Mall. The last London Square Mall show was in 1995. The League moved its annual exhibit into Oakwood Mall in 1998, and then later at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls.
Over the years, the ECAAL held public exhibitions of their artwork. In 1972, the League held a painting exhibit at the Sacred Heart Hospital. The League celebrated its 41st anniversary with an exhibit in the L.E. Phillips Public Library in 1985. The group has exhibited mostly at the L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library and the Janet Carson Gallery in recent years.
Although the League had been open to men since its inception, the first men did not join until 1982. This was voted on in 1980 as well as the vote to include other works of art such as pottery, leather, wood, and photography.
In 1986, the first student merit awards were presented at the Art League Art Fair at London Square Mall. The Student Merit Awards highlighted promising student artists from local high schools. As other art associations and events were established, participation in the ECAAL diminished and the organization disbanded in May 2013.
The records are divided into three series: Meeting records, activity records, and photographs.
Acquisition Information: Donated to the Special Collections & Archives, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire by Carol Gutsch in May 2013.
Access Restrictions: Records are open to the public.
Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright owned by the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
Preferred Citation: Eau Claire Area Art League Records, 1944-2013. UHC 345. Special Collections & Archives. McIntyre Library. University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire. Eau Claire, WI.
Processing Note: Processed by Jacob N. Riehl in May 2013.
Arrangement: By series.
OCLC #: 859806820
Saxon, Ruth G.
Eau Claire Area Art League
Artwork--Wisconsin--Eau Claire region
Art Exhibitions--Wisconsin--Eau Claire region
Art Shows--Wisconsin--Eau Claire region
Paint the Park--Wisconsin--Eau Claire region
Geographical Terms: Eau Claire--Wisconsin
Detailed List of Contents
Series 1: Meeting Records
Meeting minutes, membership lists, income and expense reports, bylaws.
Extent: .8 linear feet (2 archives boxes)
Income and expense reports
Series 2: Activity Records
Includes anniversary celebrations, guest books, art shows and exhibitions, purchase award recipients, student awards, Wisconsin Rural/Regional Art Association correspondence, scrapbooks, and historical timelines of the league.
Extent: 2.8 linear feet (2 archives boxes and 2 oversized boxes)
41st Anniversary Exhibit
50th Anniversary Celebration, Logos, Brochures
60th Anniversary Celebration, DVD
Paint the Park
Art Fair Advertising
Misc. newspaper clippings
Purchase Award Recipients
Student Merit Awards
Wisconsin Rural/Regional Art Association correspondence
Brainstorming sessions, historical timelines
Box 5 (Oversize)
Box 6 (Oversize)
Series 3: Photographs
Photographs include Christmas parties, Oakwood Mall exhibits, and miscellaneous photographs of ECAAL members.
Extent: .4 linear feet (1 archives box)
Christmas Party Photos
Oakwood Mall Exhibit Photos