The History of Art, for Heaven’s Sake!
Thirty nine years ago, the first Art, for Heaven’s Sake! Show took place in the living room of a Redlands United Church of Christ member. The idea came from a need to raise funds for a church building for the newly formed congregation. The name, Art, for Heaven’s Sake!, which is a bit of a pun, was thought up by Dorothy Landeros. Dorothy was a founding member of the church, who loved words and had a wonderful sense of humor. The show was a hit and soon outgrew its modest beginnings. Thus, in the following years it was moved to what is now the Redlands Medical Center on the corner of Olive and Terracina in Redlands.
The medical center was a wonderful place for the show, but required a huge effort on the part of the tiny UCC congregation to pull it off. The medical center consists of two floors of offices arranged around a central courtyard. The glassed in hallways and waiting rooms that run along the edge of the courtyard made a perfect space for the show.
In order to have the show at the medical center, there were some obstacles that had to be overcome. First, setting up the show couldn’t take place until the offices closed at 5 p.m. on Friday evening. That meant there were only two hours to move all the waiting room furniture and get the artists set up. Every piece of furniture that was moved was labeled and meticulously noted on a map so that it could get put back into place once the show was over. Second, once the show was over at 5 p.m. on Sunday, all the artists had to move out, the furniture had to be replaced and what seemed like about five miles of carpeting had to be vacuumed.
Moving to the Church
After several successful years at the medical center, it was decided that some medical offices would be open on Saturday which meant that the show had to be moved. By then, the church had its own land just down the street and had built a large hall, so it was decided that the show would take place at the church. The area where the church sanctuary sits today was vacant at the time, so the show committee borrowed a huge tent from the City of Redlands and put it up on the large east lawn. The show also used the hall, the patio and the area where the church office is as well. Church on art show Sunday was held in the garden. Having the show at the church meant that there was much more time to set it up and all that tedious vacuuming was eliminated!
When the decision to build the sanctuary was made, the art show once again had to re-group and consequently it took on its present form. Though there was some worry about using the lower garden, it seemed like the best place to absorb the artists who had previously been on the east lawn and in the area where the office is now. In recent years, the garden has been enlarged to accommodate even more artists.
A Redlands Tradition
Over the years, the show has become a major event in Redlands. Both exhibitors and guests come from all over Southern California to experience the beautiful art and music. Proceeds from the show help to fund such organizations at Food for All, the Redlands Christian Counseling Service, and Get on the Bus. Past shows have also helped to fund Hurricane Katrina Relief, and relief in Haiti.
The Friday night reception has acquired a reputation as “the place to be” in Redlands. All three days outstanding musical groups perform. Art, for Heaven’s Sake! is a wonderful experience. To paraphrase one member of the current Art Show Committee, there are really five seasons, winter, spring, summer, fall, and Art, for Heaven’s Sake!