Promoting art in Whittier and surrounding communities


In the summer of 1934, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Women’s Auxiliary celebrated its first Allied Arts Festival. The Whittier Woman’s Club also took part. A group of artists from the show joined together, drew up a constitution and elected a board of directors for what became the Whittier Art Association.

Their aim was to create and maintain a community art gallery that would offer continuous exhibits of fine arts and crafts, to stimulate and coordinate the expression of local artists, and to advance the appreciation of fine art.

After five years of fund raising, the Association moved into its own gallery. Mr. Fred Pease donated the land on Painter Avenue and lent money for the building. Architect William Harrison donated his design for the quaint, period style building. Raymond Hunicutt supervised the construction for free and local businesses donated materials at reduced prices. The Association made every payment on time, and in 1945 the entire debt was paid off making the Whittier Art Association one of the few artists’ associations to host its own full time gallery.

In 1959, the gallery was enlarged to include a stage, a kitchen, rest rooms and a paved parking lot. An Art Guild was organized to provide financial aid. A membership of 30 to 40 women worked with teas and special events to maintain the gallery, both inside and out. Their help enabled the Association to become a totally self-supporting nonprofit organization.



OCTOBER 9, 1934 – Whittier Art Gallery Exhibition
Paintings, Lithographs, Silk Screen prints

Conrad Buff II, born in Switzerland in 1886, came to America and Los Angeles in 1907. His talent for painting, murals and
printmaking flourished in the America West. His monumental murals were a development of his interest in combining art and architecture. In 1923 he painted a mural for the William Penn Hotel in Whittier. Sadly the hotel was destroyed by fire some time ago.

He and his wife Mary Marsh, also an artist, were very much involved in the support of most major art organizations in California.

Their son Conrad Buff III was an architect as part of the influential firm of Buff and Hensman.

On exhibit in 1934t: Lithograph of the oil painting “BLACK CANYON” a 1934 canvas (8′ x 5′)
for the Fine Arts Collection, Public Building Services, U.S. General Services Administration.
[Photograph courtesy of LACMA]


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