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Greensboro Artists' League Records

Identifier: MSS 0259

Scope and Contents

The Greensboro Artists' League Records include administrative and financial documentation; corresopndence; records of specific exhibits and events; copies of newsletters; documentation of the leagues' publicity and outreach efforts; and papers describing related organizations and subjects of local interest.


  • 1956 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. However, personnel files from the Administrative Files series are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

On 14 November, 1956, Susan Moore, organizer of Associated Artists in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Zelma Jean Clary, president of Winston-Salem's Art Council, and Mrs. Smith Whitesides, director of Allied Arts of Durham, North Carolina, called a meeting at the Central YWCA in Greensboro. The three women felt Greensboro need an association to bring together local artists and promote art education in the local community. Artist Anthony Borrowes presided over the first meeting, and was named acting president of the new Greensboro Artists' League (GAL).

The league included amateur and professional sculptors and painters, and would serve members and the public through the provision of gallery space, classes in art and art history, and guest speakers. GAL did not have an official home, so subsequent meetings were held at the Old Greensboro School of Art Building, the YWCA, the Greensboro Public Library, meeting spaces at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), the United Arts Council building, and members' homes. In the late 1970s, the league acquired permanent office space at the Greensboro Art Center, but continued to struggle with the issue of exhibition space. In 1988, the City of Greensboro began renovation of the Art Center, and unveiled the new Cultural Center at Festival Park in 1990.

The league was run by a Board of Directors, with an executive committee consisting of a president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary, and committees for budget, planning, membership, and specific events. Over the years, GAL also employed an executive director, exhibits curator, secretary and gallery guard, and utilized the skills and energy of countless volunteers as well as student interns.

Early lecturers sponsored by the league included prominent artists Joe King and Maud Gatewood. In 1957, the league sponsored the Million Dollar Show, an exhibition of the Hammer Collection, including works by Vermeer, Reubens, and Rembrandt, at the Woman's College (now UNCG). Also in 1957, the league held its first sidewalk show at the Friendly Shopping Center. In 1959, GAL purchased the first painting in its permanent collection: "Red Sun" by Jose Guarrero. In 1961, the IRS granted the league non-profit status. In 1969, the league held its first national juried competition.

GAL was one of the first organizations sponsored by the United Arts Council of Greensboro, and supplemented that income with membership dues, donations, grants, fundraisers, and small commissions on works sold through the league's gallery.

The league arranged several annual exhibitions, including an all-members juried exhibition (the winner received a solo exhibition at the GAL gallery the following year) and a national fine arts competition, whose finalists were displayed first in Greensboro and then at the Ward-Nasse Gallery in New York City. Other major events included numerous mall shows, annual winetasting/auctions celebrating the birthdays of famous artists, participation in the African American Arts Festival, "Emerging Artist" shows for up-and-comers, summer salons, the North Carolina Outdoor Sculpture exhibition, holiday events such as "Art Wrap" and an Ornamental Exhibition, and lectures, including a very popular series on the "Business of Art" in 2003.

GAL reached out to local school children through programs such as Cultural Kaleidoscope, which served seventh graders in Guilford County schools. The league received a certificate of appreciation for volunteer services to children and youth from the Greensboro City Board of Education in 1980, and was again recognized by the Guilford County Board of Education and North Carolina Art Education Association in 1998.

The Greesnboro Artists' League also reached out to local businesses through programs such as "On My Own Time," an exhibit of work by employees at the VF Jeanswear Corporation, and to local minority populations through exhibits by individuals like Charles White, an influential African American artist.

GAL also published a newsletter, first called Art News and then Member 2 Member, which sometimes was issued monthly and other times seasonally. By 2004, membership had expanded to include amateur and professional jewelry makers, photographers, glassblowers, potters, weavers and other craftspeople in addition to the original categories of painters and sculptors.

In 2004, the Greensboro Artists' League merged with the Center for Creative Arts in order to form the Center for Visual Artists (CVA). The CVA endeavors to provide professional exhibit galleries, a full-service education center, a juried sales gallery and community outreach programming, including workshops for both adults and children.


9.24 Linear Feet (20 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Greensboro Artists' League (GAL) was founded in 1956 to provide support for local artists and arts education for the local community. GAL functioned for forty-eight years, sponsoring countless exhibits and educational programs. In 2004 the league merged with the Center for Creative Arts in order to form the Center for Visual Artists.

The Greensboro Artists' League Records, 1956-2004, include minutes from meetings of the Board of Directors; copies of grant applications, budgets and financial reports; correspondence; documentation of specific exhibits and events, including annual competitions, fundraisers, and member shows; copies of newsletters; documentation of the leagues' publicity and outreach efforts, including news clippings, brochures, and postcards/mailers; and papers describing related organizations and subjects of local interest.

Arrangement Note

The collection's series are arranged alphabetically, with the exception of ephemera and photographs from the Special Formats Series, which are housed with Correspondence in Box 4, due to space issues: Series 1. Administrative Files Series 2. Correspondence Series 3. Events and Exhibits Series 4. Financial Papers Series 5. Newsletters Series 6. Publicity Series 7. Related Organizations Series 8. Subject Files Series 9. Special Formats

Method of Acquisition

Gift of Esther Hutcherson in September, 2006.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Michelle Belden in February, 2007.

Greensboro Artists' League Records
Michelle Belden
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US