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The Whittier Art Association formed in 1934, with the goal of opening a gallery that would “entertain large visiting exhibits”. It was the depths of the Great Depression, when the galleries in Los Angeles were struggling with declining sales. The Whittier Art Gallery, located between Los Angeles and the art colony in Laguna Beach welcomed visitors from throughout the Southland, and gave professional artists a place to exhibit and sell their artwork. In 1939, the Art Association built their permanent gallery on Painter Ave. in Whittier.
The Whittier Art Gallery’s unique past was first recognized in the 1990s, when some Depression era leather binders were discovered in the gallery’s downstairs cupboard. After years of research, we would like to share the gallery’s past through vintage newspaper articles that link our gallery to the professional artists of the Laguna Beach Art Gallery (now the Laguna Beach Art Museum), the California Water Color Society(now the National Water Color Society), and the California Art Club, active and growing today, based in Pasadena; California.
When the Whittier Art Gallery was completed in 1939, Arthur Millier, art critic for the Los Angeles Times attended the grand opening and wrote:
“The town of Whittier… has the Southland’s
best designed, best equipped, small public art center.”
April 16 1939, Los Angeles Times
The newspaper articles and photographs on this website are intended for educational use only. We wish to acknowledge the Whittier Historical Society and Museum, the Whittier Public Library Historical Photograph Collection, Corinne Haig and Family, and the Whittier Art Association whose contributions have made our research possible.
Evan Martinez, Whittier Art Gallery Historian
Vicki Schramm, Independent Researcher
Whittier Art Gallery • 8035 Painter Avenue
562.698.8710 Whittier, CA 90602
The Whittier Art Association is a nonprofit 501(C)3