Art through the Generations - . . . from teacher to students
(including one colleague meets another teacher)
Mary Ellen, left, meets Elaine, right.
May 1, 2013

In researching her paternal grandmother, Esther Painter Hagstrom, and serving as curator of the “Art through the Generations” exhibit for the Coronado Public Library, journalist Suzy Hagstrom was reminded of what she already knew.
Art is more than paintings on a wall. Preparing an art exhibit is more than hanging paintings on a wall. The desire to paint or dance or write or otherwise express oneself creatively is what makes people human. With or without words, art is a way people can connect with each other.
More than she ever imagined, “Art through the Generations” was the way Suzy Hagstrom connected to the grandmother she never met. Esther Painter Hagstrom, who taught art at Coronado High School from 1939 to 1951, died before Suzy Hagstrom was born.
To assemble a comprehensive “from teacher to students” display of paintings, Suzy tracked down her grandmother’s students who attended Coronado public schools during the 1940s. As director of art curriculum for the Coronado School District, Esther provided art instruction at the elementary and junior high schools, too.  Consequently, she influenced several generations of students.
Connecting with students was relatively easy for Suzy, a veteran reporter for daily newspapers. She talked to close friends and former classmates of her late parents, Robert Painter Hagstrom, Coronado High School class of 1948, and Barbara Lou Eagles, class of 1950.
Suzy also talked to members of the San Diego Watercolor Society and placed a request in the society’s Prism newsletter. In response, Hildegarde Jaeger Stubbs, a former student of Esther Painter Hagstrom, called Suzy to say that Esther inspired her to become an artist.
When the society operated a gallery in Little Italy, Suzy visited to inquire in person about Esther Painter Hagstrom. In an incredible stroke of luck, the volunteer greeting visitors that day was a former student! That volunteer, Lois Drake Ferguson, Coronado High School class of 1953, said that Esther Painter Hagstrom was the reason she majored in art at Pomona College. “Your grandmother was a wonderful teacher!” Ferguson declared.
Connections to Esther Painter Hagstrom were not limited to students. Two retired teachers also contacted Suzy to say they knew her grandmother. What’s more, they each own art by Esther Painter Hagstrom!
Refer to “A Colleague” and “Another Teacher” on this Web site for detailed descriptions and to see photographs of the two teachers and the art work that Esther gave them.
Mary Ellen Wild Woodhouse Munckton, 94, of Coronado, wrote a letter to Suzy more than a decade ago on seeing Esther Painter Hagstrom’s photograph in The San Diego Union-Tribune’s “Who We Are -- Faces of San Diego 2000” project.
Elaine Jenne Eckels Landacre, 93, of San Diego, more recently contacted Hagstrom after reading about “Art through The Generations” in The San Diego Union-Tribune’s March 3, 2013, Arts & Culture section. Before Landacre’s telephone call, Hagstrom thought that Munckton might be the only retired teacher alive who knew her grandmother as a colleague.
On May 1, 2013, Suzy Hagstrom took Landacre to Coronado to meet Munckton in person. Landacre brought a 1944 photograph of Coronado Elementary School’s student body and teaching staff. The two teachers spent an hour talking about their work in Coronado, Esther Painter Hagstrom and art. Then Suzy Hagstrom took Landacre to the Coronado Public Library to see “Art through the Generations.”
Besides arranging a meeting between the two retired teachers, Hagstrom organized a reception for her grandmother’s students. The event took place April 6, 2013, in the Coronado Public Library’s Winn Room.
Some classmates of the nine artists participating in “Art through the Generations” -- as well as the general public -- attended. Munckton went to meet the students because some of these visual artists are also musicians who had taken lessons from Munckton.
“The reception was like a mini-Coronado High School reunion,” said Christian Esquevin, director of library services for the Coronado Public Library. “Some of these artists hadn’t seen each other for more than 50 years.”
The artists are:  John Clampitt of Coronado, Coronado High School class of 1954; Sarah Mott Durand of Ashland, Oregon, class of 1948; Lois Drake Ferguson of San Diego, class of 1953; Patty Murphy Jepson of Coronado, class of 1948; John “Jack” Minchin of Encinitas, class of 1948; Dolores Bridges Mote of El Cajon, class of 1945; Doris Klindt Naccarato of Coronado, class of 1951; Hildegarde Jaeger Stubbs of Encinitas, who finished high school in Santa Monica; and Celeste Walkup Usler, of Puyallup, Washington, class of 1951.
When the “Art through the Generations” exhibit is dismantled on May 31, 2013, the paintings and other works of the artists will return to their respective homes. However, the works of Esther Painter Hagstrom will remain at the Coronado Public Library to be part of its permanent collection.
The library accepted Suzy Hagstrom’s donation of her grandmother’s art, Esquevin said, because of Esther Painter Hagstrom’s ties to Coronado, contributions to the town’s art community, her influence on several generations of students in Coronado’s public schools and the beauty of her local landscapes. Her depictions of the Hotel del Coronado’s “rainbow fleet” of small sailboats rented to guests during the 1940s, he noted, are of special local historical significance.
Mary Ellen, left, talks with Elaine.
(at Mary Ellen's home in Coronado)
Artists' reception April 6, 2013
Winn Room, Coronado Public Library
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