Athenaeum main gallery named for Joseph Clayes III


By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library’s main gallery is now officially the Joseph Clayes III Gallery, thanks to a $500,000 donation by the Joseph A. W. Clayes Charitable Trust. A champagne reception was held on March 23 in honor of the “christening.”

Max Elliott, president of the Athenaeum’s Board of Trustees, addressed the gathering, giving some of the history of the gallery, which for more than 30 years was leased to the La Jolla Public Library. Reclaimed in 1989, the space was part of a grand plan of Athenaeum renovations that came to completion in 2007.

“We’ve finally put it all together, and we couldn’t have done it without Erika,” Elliot said.

Erika Torri, the Athenaeum’s executive director since 1989, thanked the late Joseph Clayes for his generous gift, and offered a toast to him.

“It is truly an honor to call this the Joseph Clayes Gallery,” she said. “The Clayes Trust donation will become part of the Athenaeum Endowment Fund and will benefit this institution for years to come.”

Trulette Clayes, Joseph’s niece and a board member of the Clayes Trust, said: “My uncle loved the arts, La Jolla, and the Athenaeum. And he loved a great party, and being the center of attention. I am so happy that the Athenaeum has agreed to honor him in this fashion.”