Baum 90th anniversary Gala: Rodale Family cultivates art
Five generations of Rodales were honored for their family’s contributions to art and culture in the Lehigh Valley at the 90th Anniversary Gala of the Baum School of Art in Allentown.
More than 100 people attended the silent auction and dinner Oct. 8 to celebrate the school’s founding by Walter Emerson Baum in 1926, and to recognize the Rodales for their long history of support. Rodale grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even one great-great grandchild attended the milestone event.
In her remarks before the dinner, Baum School Executive Director Shannon S. Fugate said that there have been “so many people who have made the school such a special place. Every level of sponsorship, every donation, every volunteer, every staff member, every student has helped us and will help us on our journey through the next 90 years.” She noted that “the Rodale family has been by our side.”
The Rodale involvement in the arts began with J. I. and Anna Rodale, pioneers in organic farming and founders of the lifestyle and health-oriented publishing house based in Emmaus. In addition to their health pursuits, both Rodales were artists. J. I. was a playwright. His wife Anna was a painter.
“The relationship between the Rodale family and the Baum family began as early as the 1940s when the publishing company commissioned Walter Baum to create illustrations for book covers,” Fugate told the sold-out Gala audience, adding that J.I. and Anna enrolled their children in art classes at the school.
In her tribute, Fugate noted, “While the organic movement grew out of their family’s values and unique business, the Rodale family was also cultivating health and wellness through their support of and participation in the arts.”
In her comments during the program, Gala Committee Chair Shelbi Stoneback, herself a Rodale, said, “I am so proud to be a member of a family that embraces the arts.” Then she added a plug for the art school. “Any child or parent who thinks they aren’t talented, they are, and I promise you the Baum School will help you find it.”
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