Allied Artist Council

They say that culture movements are created in New York, broadcasted in LA and perfected in San Diego. This was never more apparent then in Post-War San Diego. On first glance, the quiet city on the beach was a cultural wasteland partly due to its relative isolation; I-5 had not yet been built so the 120 miles separating LA from San Diego was quite a journey. However if one looked closely into beating pulse of this small beach community, it would become apparent that here all the ingredients had been laid out to create a masterpiece of collaboration, the Allied Artist Council and the Allied Craftsmen. 

            These two creative entities had their hand in shaping San Diego’s love affair with the Artists and the Craftsmen. Formed in 1946, the Allied Artist Council (AAC) brought together representatives from a broad variety of arts from Music and theater to Industrial Design and Photography. The 1st President of the council, Lyoid Ruocco’s made his headquarters the Design Center on 5th Ave, the building which integrated the offices of major architects and photographers with a canyon environment, and would later become know as ground-zero for post- war modernism in San Diego.

     Allied Craftsmen was an off-shoot of AAC focusing on the craft division of the council. Simple, utilitarian, and beautiful owing to philosophies and influences of Japan, Scandinavia, Bauhaus, and the Arts & Craft moment had been the theme of post-war American craft. The Allied Craftsmen took it one step further. Elegantly described by ceramist, woodworker, and sculptor Erik Gronborg;

“Often the modern craftsperson will deliberately make work, such as a cup, somewhat different and maybe awkward to use, as a way to make the user pay attention to the act of drinking, to involve the user in a more conscious experience of even the simplest, most automatic everyday acts… making the act of eating, or sitting, or wearing clothes conscious acts, new experience of our own physical being and physical processes, of the most basic human and cultural condition… making utility and art one experience.”
            These two artistic collectives laid the groundwork for the generations of artist/entrepreneurs that would follow. Establishing San Diego as a true hot bed of artist talent and creative ability. 

If you wish to read more the Mingei International Museum released an online book for the public's education(read more).


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