By Gary Tinder
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1970 IN THE DAILY REVIEW HAYWARD,
CALIFORNIA REPUBLISHED BY RAY SUNSHINE
HAYWARD – California State College. Hayward is on the map again. Not for a winning football team. Not for that see-for-miles view.
THERE ARE NO guideposts for this milestone, no little glaring signs to tell you this way to something important. You might look into some art classes, see some students work, check the bulletin boards and find a little of it. But a program is a little difficult to grab by the throat, chase down the hall and say, “Ah, there you are, “
IF YOU WANT to give this thing a tag, it’s a visiting artist program which is drawing some of the finest black and white artist in the county like a magnet to Cal State. Not Berkeley, or Stanford, the biggies in the Bay Area, but Cal State, Hayward. The checklist of who’s here and who’s to come is impressive. The names, and articles about them, you can find in the New York Times, where you can find everything.
JACOB LAWRENCE, William Williams, Antonio Frasconi, Malcolm Morley, Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, William Majors, Stanley Landsman, Frank Roth, Sam Gilliam, Joe Overstreet, Sanford Wurmfeld. And Raymond Saunders, who more or less started it all, who, more than anyone is responsible for drawing the artists for prodding and lending his prestige to the program. The program has been around now for a year and is going into another, unde a halo of success. It has brought prestige to the school, and has been an enriching experience for both visiting artists and students.
“I feel I gave them a point of view they haven’t been exposed to.”
WURMFELD, a New York-based, two and three-dimensional artists, felt his experience was more than worthwhile. “I feel I gave them a point of view they haven’t been exposed to.” Weintraub, who left last week after ten weeks of teaching at Cal State, said, “For me, it was a generally broadening experience, teaching students from different lifestyles. And of course, back East, there are so many people who think West is Chicago and Cleveland. And here, well, some of the kids haven’t ever been out of the state.“
CAL STATE’S QUARTER system fits ideally into an artist’s schedule, where a semester system wouldn’t. Most, if contacted early, will be able to squeeze in a ten-week stay.
“I also teach at Hunter College in New York,” Weintraub said. “I had an exhibition in New York. Saunders saw my show and asked me to come out.” He found California exhilarating as a visitor. “ That’s what it was, visiting” he said. “ It was very nice, easy, I suppose if you live here, it would be different. But in ten weeks you won’t get involved in some of the hassles that you might, if you lived here. .
THE PROGRAM itself does a lot of things– brings prestigious talent to teach at Cal State, provides a different kind of intensity to the art department that it never had.
It also brings minority group students in contact with something they can respond to. Saunders, however, is the man who makes it work, backed up by his own personal prestige.
HIS CREDENTIALS ARE impressive: studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Barnes Foundation, University of Pennsylvania and the California College of Arts and Crafts, with both a BFA degree and a MFA.
HE HAS HAD one-man exhibitions, at the Terry Dintenfass Gallery in New York on five different occasions, at the Beaumont-May Gallery at Dartmouth College and Lehigh University. Saunders is black, but the idea of race in art is foreign to him. He has said that… “racial hangups are extraneous to art. No artist can afford to let them obscure what runs through all art–the living root and the ever-growing aesthetic record of human spiritual and intellectual experience. Whatever our hangups in America–can’t we get clear of those degrading limitations, and recognise the wider reality of art, where color is the means and not the end. “
HIS PRESTIGE doesn’t end with art per se. He’s also something of an on-the-spot national consultant on urban affairs working with the national human resources administration.
“ I have a reputation as an artist on call,” he said. “ To be available if and where I am needed.” All of these things have helped immeasurably in getting the visiting artist program started and keeping it going.