I was president of the Art 321 board of directors from December 2018 to April 2021. I resigned in April due to differences between the executive director and myself on the direction of Art 321. Recent articles in various new sources prompt me to respond because I feel strongly both sides need to be heard.
The history of Art 321 has been mispresented. Art 321 has always been inclusive. No one has ever been turned away because of race or sexuality. We never felt the need to advertise that because we have always been a simple art guild for everyone. Art was our agenda.
I was told by the executive director that change needs to come to Art 321, Casper and the state. But Art 321 does not need to be changed. There is currently a push to change the incorporating name of Casper Artist’s Guild because the name does not represent his goals. The name has stood for more than 100 years.
Older members of the board of this long-standing art organization have been systematically removed and are being replaced with the director’s choice of younger like-minded individuals. It is sad and outrageous and it is happening right here at Art 321.
The executive director portrayed Art 321 in news reports as having been bigoted and racist, but that is incorrect and has never been true. The backlash he talked about in your June 5 article is actually coming from him to members of Art 321.
Art 321 is a non-profit organization of artists. As such, board meetings have always been open to members and no one has ever been turned away. On Tuesday, June 22, about 30 people tried to attend the meeting but were turned away. It is a travesty this would happen at an art institution that has been open to everyone for more than 100 years.
People, take note! Maybe we weren’t flashy and using all the buzz words, but we were a solid all-inclusive art guild who prided ourselves on giving Casper beautiful works of art to enjoy.
VICKI PRIMROSE, Casper