Before I became more involved in the Whittier Art Gallery, I thought the building housing our gallery was, well, a house converted at some time into a place for artistic exhibitions. Not so. Last week, a letter went out to our artists and friends. It relayed some interest back-history we may want to keep in mind the next time we visit the gallery.
Our Colorful Past: The Whittier Art Association was formed in 1934 by a group of very dedicated artists who had a dream of someday having an art gallery in Whittier. On the heels of the Depression, these artists formed the Whittier Art Association and raised enough money to begin construction of a gallery located on the corner of Painter and Mooreland Avenues. Built on donated land, the Whittier Art Gallery was dedicated on Monday, April 10, 1939. By 1945, the Association received its non-profit status, and that same year, the members were pleased to have Norman Rockwell come to the Gallery to judge a show.
Norman Rockwell, self-portrait
Among the Gallery’s 500 members, were many very prominent early California landscape painters. During the 1940’s, the beautiful new Whittier Art Gallery enjoyed a prime location between the galleries of Los Angeles and the new Laguna Beach Art Association.
The Whittier Art Gallery Gallery provides monthly shows, programs, art classes, and art scholarships. Our Gallery is one of the few that is totally owned and supported by the members, and it does not receive financial support from the City of Whittier.
April 10th marks the 72nd anniversary of the dedication of our Gallery building.
The gallery, circa 1940s
The gallery today
And there you have it. While the gallery may feel homey, it was not a home in the beginning. It is always good to know and appreciate the work of those who have gone before so that we can more fully enjoy the legacy they labored to pass on to us. We are also reminded that maintaning our legacy may from time to time require that gallery members and supporters to pitch in as we try to preserve our heritage:
The Gallery’s Board of Directors would like to give members and the people of our community the opportunity to make a donation to help repair and maintain the Gallery building and grounds. This year, our special projects are to replace all of the old plumbing, install a tankless water heater, and complete the needed termite work.
All donations are tax deductible and donors will receive a letter acknowledging their donation for tax purposes.
Donations can be made by cash, check, or credit card.
You may come by the gallery during our regular business hours, Wednesday-Sunday, Noon-5 PM, and pick up your own copy of this donation letter and a donation form.