Pacific Art League loses board chair | February 15, 2008 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 15, 2008

Pacific Art League loses board chair

Baker resigns after one month of presiding over struggling nonprofit

by Becky Trout

Remaining tensions within the Pacific Art League have led to the resignation of recently elected Board of Directors Chairwoman Mary Anne Baker, although Baker insists her departure was not acrimonious.

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Staff Writer Becky Trout can be e-mailed at


Like this comment
Posted by Stephanie Demos
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Dear Ms Trout,

Pacific Art League is a fabulous organization with a rich past and a promising future. Recent months have been challenging, but transition is always thus. Yet for the current Winter Quarter class enrollment has met benchmark targets (400+) and all three galleries are replete with artwork.

First, it is not true that "eight new board members ousted all but three previous board members." Only eight individuals stood for election in January and thus all eight were elected. Former Chair Carol Nast, Vice Chair Natasha Kurtova French, Aruna Gambhir and Sandy Withers resigned on the eve of the election. The five most recent appointees each chose to remove their names from consideration for the election. Linda Adreveno, Katie Cooney, Kit Golson and Rob Partish volunteered to remain for a period of transition. And Karen Gutfreund resigned from the Board to assume the role of Operations Manager. This was a completely unified board, diverse rather than homogenous, professional and generous.

Second, the plan was to develop "the organization's historic Ramona Street building" such that the Art League retained ownership of a safe, accessible first floor housing gallery, studio and office space. The plan was to maintain the historic facade while achieving full accessibility and seismic safety.

Continuing to mischaracterize either of these two points, can only exacerbate past bitterness and does not serve Palo Alto's oldest fine arts organization.

I look forward to returning to the Art League when my medical leave is over to continue the good work of this membership organization. I am, and intend to continue to be, an active member.

Pacific Art League did not need saving -- it needed and needs active commitment from the membership. That commitment will lead to fundraising success, facility preservation and the continued celebration of art.

Stephanie Demos
Executive Director

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