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

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

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.
The Whittier Art Association believes that art is a necessity, rather than a luxury,
and that it belongs not to an exclusive few, but to everyone.
The Association offers opportunities to amateurs, professional artists,
students of all ages and discriminating art lovers,
as well as to the members themselves.
Present Gallery includes state of the art gallery lighting throughout, renovated restrooms, kitchen,
Gift Gallery. a contemporary entry ramp for easy access, and the newly re-landscaped grounds!
OCTOBER 9, 1934
Whittier Art Gallery Exhibition
Paintings, Lithographs, Silk Screen prints
On exhibit in 1934: 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]
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.
As we were, circa ealy 1940's
Laying of cornerstone, 1937. Far left, Architect William Harrison.  
Second from right, Mabel Haig, Founding Member
This photo was taken June 1, 1961
Corrine Haig, 2nd from left,
the great-grandaughter of
founding member and past
President, Mabel Haig, visits
the Gallery in November
2011.  She is shown
reviewing a portfolio of
Mabel's watercolors painted
in the early days of the
Gallery with Board members
Judy Jansen, Joann Libolt,
and Donna Larson.
The photograph Corrine is
holding is of the laying of the
Gallery's cornerstone in
1937 (see above left).
In April 2012, the Gallery received a landscaping make-over from a team of 15 volunteers from the
Whittier Area Christian Church, as part of their "Serve Weekend" ministry.
Such noted artists as Conrad Buff II, Milford Zornes, Taro Yashima, James Cooper Wright, Millard Sheets, Ralph
Hulett and even Norman Rockwell have exhibited, taught and demonstrated in the association's meetings and shows.
Photo: Michael Tyler
Photo: George Rodriguez
Photo: Michael Tyler
Copyright 2003- 2013 Whittier Art Association