A Message from the Outgoing President

by Gary John Gresl

Gary John Gresl
Dear Fellow Members of WP&S/WAAM,

This brief article is being written two days before I end my term as President of WP&S.  I am so pleased that Peggy Flora Zalucha has agreed to take on this role when the new fiscal year starts on June 1st.  By the time you read this, she will be in place as President.  Peggy will be a fine conscientious representative and good at her job.  She will also be the new South Central Chapter Chair, a position she has held before, and she takes the lead for us with the WP&S exhibit program at Wisconsin Academy Gallery Project at their University Ave. venue in Madison.

I will have been President for over 7 years, with two terms in that seat from 1987 to 91, and then again for the last 3 years stepping in when a vacancy occurred.   I must admit some embarrassment as I take a little pride in that tenure, but I also recognize that I have been “very” lucky due to having some very good people supporting me and WP&S efforts...especially during these past few years.

Chairs of the three Chapters have done fine work, not only with their Chapter activities but also thru their participation at the State Board level.  You all should be very pleased...and give them thanks for all their efforts and time given on your behalf.  They have included Steve Ballard, Monique Isham, Nancy Lamers and Donna Elliott.  Pat them all on the back, please. “Besides these good people, others have repeatedly stepped up to help our mission.  For example, Sally Gauger Jensen has repeatedly served as Exhibition Chair for our Biennial.  I ask forgiveness for not mentioning the many others who have aided over the years.”

You may not fully appreciate what WP&S/WAAM has managed to accomplish in its time, and what it actually does every year for the visual arts in this state.  It was formed in the year 1900.  It has put on juried exhibits for thousands of artists in 104 years.  It has survived difficulties of a century with a changing art culture, funding considerations, politics and personalities. 

You should all be proud of this organization.  If I may say, even though I do know most of the blemishes and skeletons in closets, I have great affection for this institution.  I appreciate and greatly respect the persons who have given their energies and time to do some good for our regional visual arts, for over a century.

Since the WP&S/WAAM Centennial exhibit held at the West Bend Art Museum in 2000, I have grown quite interested in our history.  I have been pleased and amazed to learn about all our successful exhibits since 1900, the quality artists who have been part and who are still part, the good that we have done for many artists who have not even been members of WP&S...but who we have exhibited in our shows and supported. 

We can take some pride in our recent activities which include the attempt to recreate the Cudahy Gallery’s programs in the Old Coast Guard Building on Lake Michigan’s shore, in our successful Wisconsin Artists Biennial exhibits, in our nice looking and informative “Art In Wisconsin”, in our programs offered to members and citizens, in our successful attempt to create the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Awards, in our Japanese/WP&S exchanges, in our longevity and in our future.

I will not be leaving WP&S and disappearing soon.  As long as Peggy and the Board can gain something from my association, I will be very happy to participate.  I freely admit that it is I who has gained from my participation in WP&S/WAAM...and I certainly don’t want to lose the opportunities that will be presented in the future.  Selfishly, I want WP&S to go on with its activities for many many years to come.

Wishing you all the very best possible.  Be well and enjoy these days!

Gary John Gresl
“It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“Through reverence for life, we come into a spiritual relationship with the universe”
“The Bird of Time has but a little way to flutter - and the Bird is on the wing”

Gary John Gresl Gary Gresl in front of the Milwaukee Coast Guard Station, 2000
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