The first Whittier Art Gallery was located in a donated space on Philadelphia Street in Whittier’s business district. The gallery was located in a large downstairs room, and the Art Association provided art classes in several upstairs studio rooms.
Note: Some buildings in Whittier’s business district were empty (not being rented), due to the Great Depression.
Meeting called to form an Art Association.
Plans are made for the Pio Pico Mansion to become the home of the Whittier Art Gallery. Mrs. Myron Haig
“motors” with others to Laguna to seek advice from William Griffith. The Whittier Art Association opens a temporary gallery on Philadelphia Street in Whittier.
When the Whittier Art Association formed, a plan was announced that the Pio Pico Mansion may become the permanent home of the Whittier Art Gallery. The mansion’s spacious rooms would have accommodated “large visiting exhibits”. Although the plan was supported by the Whittier Chamber of Commerce and the Whittier Woman’s Club, it did not succeed.
Whittier was a rural community, and the land to the East and South of Whittier’s business district was blanketed
with acres of orange, walnut, lemon, and avocado orchards. The roads between Whittier and Laguna Beach,
passed by vast acres of orchards and crops in Orange County.
William A. Griffith, three times president of the Laguna Beach Art Association, exhibits his paintings at the
Whittier Art Gallery. Ruth Peabody exhibits her statuary.
William Alexander Griffith
𝘓𝘢𝘨𝘶𝘯𝘢 𝘉𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩, 1927
Pastel on linen stretched to artist’s board, 15.75 X 20 in.
Laguna Beach Art Association past president, William Griffith, spoke at the gallery’s open meeting. “He
encouraged the members of the Whittier [Art] Association in the belief that Whittier too, can be made an
important art and cultural center”. He went on to say, “I wish you all the luck in the world, and Laguna will do everything possible to help you”.
Laguna artists William Brandriff and Ida May Sharpless exhibit at the Whittier Art Gallery.
Edgar Payne paints a demonstration picture at the Whittier Art Gallery. He was the first president of the Laguna Beach Art Association, and he is “one of California’s most prominent painters.
Edgar Payne exhibits 36 canvases at the Whittier Art Gallery. More than 100 people watch his painting demonstration on opening night. His paintings “bring to Whittier all the light and color and grandeur of the wide-open spaces of many places”.
Edgar Alwin Payne
𝘗𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘖𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘗𝘢𝘺𝘯𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘬𝘦
Oil on canvas, 29 7/8 X 34 1/8 in.
The California Water Color Society exhibits 60 watercolor paintings at the gallery. Among the exhibiting artists were: Phil Dike, Hardie Gramatky, Mabel George Haig, Eduard Vysekal, Donna Schuster, and Lucille Hinkle.
The Pacific Electric Railway was a major form of transportation for Southern California from about 1915 to the late 1930s. The first Whittier Art Gallery located in Whittier’s business district, was a short distance from the Pacific Electric Railway tracks. Travel to the gallery from Los Angeles was convenient and inexpensive during the time before busses became popular. The tracks in this Uptown section of Whittier were taken up in 1938, and the metal was given to the War effort.
The South Coast News, announces that Whittier has organized an Art Association “for the whole surrounding community between Los Angeles and Laguna Beach”. The Association is sponsoring art classes in water color landscape by Mabel George Haig; life drawing by Eleanor Colburn, sculpture by Ruth Peabody, and pottery by
pupils of Glen Lukens.
When the California Water Color Society exhibit closed, the paintings were sent to the Los Angeles County
Historical and Art Museum.
The Museum, located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, opened with a two week celebration in 1913.
Emil Kosa Jr. exhibits water color paintings and drawings at the gallery. Also exhibited are paintings by Alfred W. Johnston, sculpture by various artists, pottery by pupils of Glen Lukens, and pastels by Harry Muir Kurtzworth.
Mr. Kurtzworth is the director of the Los Angeles Art Association.
Emil J. Kosa Jr. signed his exhibit form for the Whittier Art Gallery on July 31, 1934. His exhibit included 12 framed water colors and 25 unframed drawings.
The Los Angeles Times Newspaper announces that the writing of the late Anna Hills, “How to Judge Pictures”,
will be read at a meeting of the Whittier Art Association. Anna Hills was one of the cofounders of the
Laguna Beach Art Center and Gallery.
Note: The correct title of the document is “How to Judge a Picture”, written by Anna Hills for a talk she gave about two months before she passed away in 1930.
The Whittier Art Gallery exhibits paintings by the late Anna Hills; water colors by Mabel George Haig, and
engravings by Paul Landacre. Harry Muir Kurtzworth will speak at the open meeting on “Art in Southern California”.
Anna Althea Hills
𝘜𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘥 , 1910
Watercolor, 7 X 9 1/2 in
Anna Althea Hills
𝘚𝘶𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘚𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘴, 1915
Oil on board, 7 X 10 in.
Mr. Kurtzworth, has served as curator of the Los Angeles Museum, is now the director of the Los Angeles Art Association. He speaks at the gallery’s open meeting. stating, “Your problem is to take Art to the people,
and later, the people will come to Art.”
Whittier Art Association Inventory Sheet
September 27, 1934
Karl Yens exhibits paintings and prints. Water colors by Tom Lewis, sculpture by Sherry Peticolas, and wood
carving by Ruth Bennett. A competitive show for Whittier Art Association members will open November 15.
Conrad Buff exhibit features paintings and lithographs. He has painted the mountains of the Swiss Alps, Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and California. Buff also painted a mural over the mantel in Whittier’s William Penn Hotel. Other exhibiting artists are Worden Bethell, Jason Herron, and Ruth Bennett.
Mr. R. F. James, illustrator from New York City, will speak on art from the standpoint of illustration. Exhibited are paintings and lithographs by Conrad Buff, paintings, pastels and water colors by Worden Bethell, sculpture by
Jason Herron, and carved wood panels by Ruth Bennett.
Otis Art Institute instructors, Mr. Roscoe Shrader and Edouard Vysekal, will speak at the Whittier Art Gallery.
Mr. Roscoe Shrader is president of the California Art Club, and Edouard Vysekal is a noted Southern California painter.
Mr. Roscoe Shrader, Dean of Otis Art Institute, speaks on the purpose and value of art. The artwork of
Miss. Dowiatt is exhibited. Popular prizes for the Whittier Art Association member’s competitive exhibit are awarded.
The Whittier Art Association lost their temporary Whittier Art Gallery space on Philadelphia Street. After several months, they open a new “Gallery at Pickering and Broadway” in Whittier’s old Broadway School building.
The Broadway School was demolished six months after the WAA opened their gallery there. The WAA provided exhibits at the Whittier Woman’s Club House until they constructed their own galley.
Forrest Randall “brings a cosmopolitan opportunity to Whittier for his water colors have been exhibited in the
Feragil galleries in New York, and his wall paper designs in the Waldorf Astoria in that city.”
Work on the first unit of the Whittier Art Gallery will commence tomorrow. Donor Fred L. Pease, architect
William Harrison, and contractor Raymond Hunnicutt will attend. The Art Association secured a site on Painter Avenue which is one of the most attractive streets and one of the main entrances of the city.
December 6, 1938
The photo was taken on the sidewalk in front of the lot where construction would begin for the first unit of the Whittier art Center [Gallery].
Left to Right: William Henry Harrison, architect, H.E. Harris, Fred Pease, donor,
Mabel George Haig, WAA president, Raymond Hunnicutt, contractor.
Ground breaking exercises were held at 727 South Painter Avenue, attended by Art Association members and representatives of leading civic organizations. Mrs. Mryon Haig, president of the Whittier Art Association, accepted the deed of the property on which would be built the new home of the Whittier Art Center. She turned at least one shovel of dirt to speed up the actual building work.
Note: The gallery’s original address of 727 So. Painter Ave. was changed to 8035 Painter Ave. in the 1960s.
Construction of the first unit of the Whittier Art Center (Gallery) will be 36 X 36 feet facing East, so arranged that an ell can be added to the Southwest corner and then further galleries on the West end of the lot as the need develops.
Only the exterior of the gallery was completed until more funds were raised to complete the inside. “Friends of the Association” solicited funds. Whittier citizens who supported the cause are listed.
The Whittier Art Gallery was given warm support from the Whittier Woman’s Club, Jr. Woman’s Club, East Whittier Woman’s Club, the Business and Professional Woman’s Club, the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), and organizations in every school district, covering the entire community. The town’s businessmen also contributed.
Mabel George Haig was invited to exhibit at the World’s Fair on Treasure Island.
Whittier artist Forrest Randall designs fabric for one of Scarlett O’Hara’s costumes worn in the motion picture
“Gone With the Wind”.
The gallery has been designed with “special lighting effects”, and the walls will be of burlap.
“The building has been so constructed that…a wing or wings may be added.”
New Building of Whittier Art Group to Open Tonight.
“All is in readiness for the opening tonight at 8 o’clock of the galleries of the Whittier Art Association, South Painter Avenue and Moorland Drive. Members of the organization, aided by loyal friends, have labored months towards this achievement.”