This story is about Art; that is, Art Connor. Since 2010, Art has been curator for The Record Collection here in Idyllwild on Lower Pine Crest Avenue, just paces down the road from the Idyllwild Water District office. Both Art and The Record Collection have interesting histories. Originally, I thought I was going to interview Art as an artist but he told me, “I’m not an artist.” So, I will tell you his story and you judge.

First, Art’s hobby is doing abstracts in watercolor and pastels. He says he has never sold any of his work, only given it away. Back when he was an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, his work was exhibited in the school’s fine art show. After that, he earned his master’s degree in library information from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Happy together, The Record Collection crew pose comfortably. From left, Owner Sanders Chase, Proprietor Annette Bradford and Archivist Art Connor. Photo by Susan Monroe

His employment in library science began as a “cataloger” for the Virginia Steele collection at Huntington Library. Next, he went to Occidental and worked with the Guyman mystery and detective collection. He worked at two rare bookstores in Los Angeles then went to Arundel Books for 19 years.

His main task as a cataloger was to “prepare books for inventory and online search,” but he also located rare and important book collections throughout LA, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.

Art met the owner of The Record Collector, Sandy Chase, during the early 1980s. Art had been working with book collections but also developed a real interest in rare and valuable vinyl record collections, thanks to Sandy, who owned a store in LA on Melrose, offering more than 600,000 vinyl records. With regard to his love of vinyl records, Chase said, “analog wave is infinite in harmonic info.” His concert violinist ears prefer analog to digital sound.

When Chase decided to open a satellite store here in Idyllwild, on property that his family had owned since the 1950s, Art came to Idyllwild to curate for The Record Collection.

At The Record Collection here in Idyllwild, you will find about 40,000 vinyl records to peruse, mostly classical music, but also a good collection of jazz, and you will have the pleasure of meeting Art, who, by the way, once wrote a music column for The Town Crier.

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