The First Spring Show

The First Spring Show was held in 1974 at Appleton


Jon Hassler was President of MRAA at that time, dues were $3.50 and membership was up to 306.

The upcoming Spring Show will be the 37th Spring Show for Artists of Minnesota. Our organization was formed in 1959 (then named Minnesota Rural Artists Association), but it was not until 1974 that the first Spring Show was held. Appleton was the site of that first show. John L. Peyton was the judge. One entry was allowed per person and the entry fee was $1. There were four categories: Oil; Watercolor; Acrylics; and Miscellaneous (graphics, charcoal, pastels, drawings, etc.). The awards were: “Best Picture in Show,” (People’s Choice) $20; and each category received $15 for first, $10 for second, and $5 for third. Three Merit Ribbons were awarded in each category.

The first show was a big success, with 157 paintings entered representing 53 towns in Minnesota. The Appleton Art Club had an additional 141 paintings on display, making a total of 248 paintings in the exhibit. Attendance was great, as well, with approximately 700 visitors.

Jon Hassler’s sense of humor was shown in the following excerpt from his President’s letter in the May, 1974 newsletter.

Thoughts While Painting: A Parable

Two years ago I sold two landscapes to two young men. The young man with the red beard gave his landscape to his wife for Christmas and the other young man gave his to his fiance for Valentine’s day. Last fall I met the man with the red beard and asked how his wife liked the painting. “She must have liked it just fine,” he said. “She took it with her when we got divorced.” The other day I met the other young man and asked him how his wife liked the painting. “She liked it,” he said, “but she isn’t my wife. We broke up and she married somebody else.”

MORAL: Whoever mistakes me for cupid is in for a rude surprise.