Chadwick School’s 75th anniversary festivities continued last month, as photographs documenting the school in its earlier years were displayed in the Palos Verdes Library at the Peninsula Center.
The exhibit, entitled “Through the Lenses of Ansel Adams and Cedric Wright,” ran from Jan. 7 to 25. More than 25 images by the photographers lined the wall of the library lobby on either side of the library entrance. Chadwick covered the hallway with banners, school information pamphlets and 75th anniversary floor stickers.
For the school’s fifth anniversary, in 1940, Mrs. Margaret Chadwick decided to create a new catalog detailing the school’s highlights and mission. Ansel Adams, an environmentalist famous for his depictions of Yosemite National Park, became a part of the project during Chadwick’s annual ski trip to Yosemite in early February.
Adams’ photographs ranged from daily student life and sporting events, to images of the nearby landscape, including some taken on a weekend trip to Abalone Cove. He completed the catalog in 1941, but continued to have a lasting relationship with Chadwick School, later returning in 1942.
A good friend of Ansel Adams, photographer Cedric Wright joined the Chadwick community in 1948. Wright stayed on campus for much longer than Adams, and further captured the life of the students. Palos Verdes Library in Malaga Cove displayed his work in 1948.
Chadwick held an opening reception in the library on Jan. 8 as an introduction to the exhibit. Mary Baldovin, Chadwick’s Development Coordinator, who headed the event, said “ [I] expected a large turnout because of the advertising on photography blogs, Palos Verdes event calendars and media releases.”
The crowd included Chadwick students, faculty and alumni, as well as the general public. Background music and food catered by Red Onion Restaurant also helped draw an audience.
The reception featured Lance Bowling ’66, Chadwick’s historian, as a guest speaker. He spoke on the well-known history of the school as well as the conclusions that he had made from studying the photographs.
Baldovin said, “We’ve been thinking about exhibiting these photographs for decades now. We’ve had plenty of time to put it together, and a lot of people have been involved.”
Two Village School parents, Jennifer Borden and Deanne Shey, school archivist Fran Pullara, and a host of other volunteers contributed to the event.
The opening reception crowd mainly consisted of younger Chadwick students, parents, alumni and faculty. Fourth grader Grant Ho shrugged, saying the event was “pretty good” and “my mom just took me.” Other parents said that they received emails from the school and brought their children along thinking it would be a wonderful experience. Many of the Upper School art department faculty also appeared.
Missing, however, were students in the Middle and Upper Schools. Reasons ranged from being too busy to being unaware. Ninth grade student Zach Herbst said, “I wouldn’t have minded seeing it if I happened to be in the library, but I wouldn’t have had the time to go just for the exhibit.”
The planning team who coordinated the exhibit chose the library for this same reason. Knowing that the exhibit ran through final exam season for every student on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the library was an ideal location considering the numbers that filed in and out and past the photographs daily.
Baldovin said she “wanted to have the photographs in a place where people would really see them,” choosing the Peninsula Center library since it is a “well utilized place on the Peninsula.”
Parents waiting for their children outside the library said they got a great glimpse of Chadwick School. One parents remarked, “I really enjoyed seeing what Chadwick offered in terms of the outdoor atmosphere.”
Senior Lucas Lebovitz briefly saw the exhibit while in the library, though he said, “I did not specifically go to see it because I did not specifically know it was there.”
Isabel Ngan, a tenth grader, echoed this comment, saying, “I did not know there was an exhibit. But I go into the library mainly to study and do homework. I don’t really consider going in to see an exhibit.”
Older Chadwick students who did take advantage of seeing the photos only did so by chance. But for those who have yet to see the pictures, whose subjects range from basketball games to rabbit feedings, the photographs will be reproduced and framed and placed in permanent locations around campus.