Olaf Wieghorst Museum Foundation stages ‘Bringing ‘Em Home!’ Reunion

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Dianne Jacob with Jim Daniels at Wieghorst Foundation Reunion.jpg

Even in the twenty-first century, the Old West can be glimpsed in a corner of El Cajon.

The Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and extending appreciation of Western art and culture.

The museum and center celebrate the life and art of Wieghorst, a prominent local artist known during his lifetime and since as the “Dean of Western Painters.”

Artwork from other artists is featured among new rotating displays of Western paintings, sculptures and photographs.

Even in the twenty-first century, the Old West can be glimpsed in a corner of El Cajon.

The Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and extending appreciation of Western art and culture.

The museum and center celebrate the life and art of Wieghorst, a prominent local artist known during his lifetime and since as the “Dean of Western Painters.”

Artwork from other artists is featured among new rotating displays of Western paintings, sculptures and photographs.

Operating expenses, exhibits and programs are supported through the Olaf Wieghorst Museum Foundation. The foundation’s largest money-raising party is the annual Round Up, with this year’s event staged on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The theme of the fundraiser was “Bringing ‘Em Home,” as a reunion party inviting long-lost museum patrons and supporters to come back again.

Appropriately for the theme, this was the first of these yearly fundraising events to be held at home on the museum grounds.

The evening gathering kicked off with a silent auction and informal mingling and munching on appetizers in the museum’s art display rooms. A Western barbecue buffet followed, with diners seated at tables in the outdoor cactus-garden patio adjacent to the museum. The culmination of the night was a live auction featuring bids on Western-themed items that were donated for the event.

Dignitaries in attendance included Roy and Barbara Wieghorst, son and daughter-in-law of Olaf, and San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a longtime supporter of the museum who assisted with governmental relations during the heritage center’s founding in the El Cajon Rea Arts District.

Chairman of the event organizing committee, Mike Bostwick, welcomed partygoers during the dinner portion of the night’s activities.

“There is a lot of wonderful artwork here,” Bostwick said. “I especially want to thank the volunteers and foundation board members who helped with tonight’s reunion.”

Bostwick is a member of the Olaf Wieghorst Posse, a group of museum foundation supporters and board members who dress in cowboy garb to co-host events. Bostwick was curator of horticulture at the San Diego Zoo for 30 years, and he provided expert guidance on landscaping for the outdoor garden between the art museum building and the Wieghorst house.

Bostwick’s cousin Mary Beth Cole, of Catawba Island, Ohio, was there toacknowledge and honor his efforts on behalf of the museum foundation. This was her third visit to the West Coast in 10 years.

“What Mike has done here is beautiful,” Cole said. “He has traveled all over the world, and he’s helped establish habitats for endangered species. This is wonderful work here, too, on behalf of the museum.”

Earlene Hollmichel, executive director of the museum foundation, outlined some of the foundation’s ongoing programs that will benefit from money the party brought in.

She said that each year the museum pays for a weekend of art study for high school students, during which students are able to work one-on-one with an artist who instructs them.

The museum also has a yearlong educational outreach program for third-graders, with children guided on tours of the museum and Wieghorst house. This program for youngsters concentrates on Native Americans, Western art and culture, and the background and history of Western artist Olaf Wieghorst.

The museum further awards cash prizes, certificates and trophies for essays based on the museum visit that have Olaf Wieghorst as their topic. Board members and Olaf’s Posse members dress in Western gear as cowboys to present the awards.

“Come down and see us,” Hollmichel said.

Rotating displays of Wieghorst’s artworks are featured in the back room of the museum, with exhibits from other artists in the entry room. A gift shop offers Western jewelry, books, art reprints, hand-painted gourds, and ever-popular dream-catchers.

The Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center is located at 131 Rea Avenue in El Cajon. The museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Information is available by phoning (619) 590-3431 or by researching online at www.wieghorstmuseum.org.

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