Allied Artists of West Virginia, Inc. is a non-profit, educational, and cultural association whose mission is to encourage, nurture and present the work of West Virginia artists to the community. Since 1930, AAWV has encouraged artists to show their work, fostered the development of new works, and furthered artistic interests in the community. AAWV holds all meetings and functions in facilities that are fully ADA compliant.
AAWV holds all meetings and functions in facilities that are fully ADA compliant.
For over 80 years artists from the State of West Virginia have devoted their efforts to the betterment of aesthetic values in their communities, influencing the world around them. In the mid 1920's an informal group met hoping to share some of their common problems and enrich their lives. Miss Madeline Keely, art supervisor in the Kanawha County School system, and Mr. and Mrs Arthur Dayton, devoted art enthusiasts, were among the initial members of what became the Charleston Art Association. Fred Goshorn, a lawyer interested in sculpture, was elected the first president. Naomie Hosterman, housewife/outstanding painter, became Vice President. Thomas Moore, self proclaimed Sunday painter, Agnes Houston (Daughtery), Blanch Cleveland Lawson, Eddy Meyer, Lu Lu Harrold, Mr. Hugo, Pancy Kuhun, Ruby Sizer...
At this point in time another group of artists, local in membership, and limited to artists only, was formed and Grace Frame (Martin Taylor) was its president. They were called Allied Artists. Taylor Charleston, artist and educator, became head of the art department of Mason College of Music and Fine Arts in 1934. And it was about this time that Allied Artists were formed. Mason was a consistently influential institution in the training and performance of musicians and artists in southern West Virginia.
In 1934, both groups merged, became Allied Artists of West Virginia, and encompassed the entire state in membership. There is sharp disagreement over who is a charter member of the organization. And there are an impressive number still active enough to make a lively discussion any day you bring the subject up.
The old library in downtown Charleston was the first meeting place, and they enjoyed the priviledge of exhibiting on the third floor. However, when the antiquated elevator gave out, and it was decided not to fix it, a new place was found that would not ask the public to climb three floors to gaze at the paintings. The local department store, Coyle's, provided space on their mezzanine, for an annual show with prizes, and exhibition space throughout the year.
The pages are yellow and worn at the corners. The musty odor faint but unmistakable. Almost fifty years of pictures and clippings recording a remarkable effort on the part of a hale and hearty group of West Virginia artists. In the early days of 1929, a gathering of interested art oriented people met at Moore's Book Store, in downtown Charleston, and they called themselves the Charleston Artist's Association. Fred Goshorn, a lawyer with an interest in sculpture, talked with Thomas Moore, who was doing some Sunday landscape painting, and he talked with Eddy Meyer, then a decorator, who talked with Naomie Hosterman, a young housewife. And Madeline Keely, Art Supervisor for the Kanawha County School system, talked with Thomas Moore when she came in to buy supplies. Agnes Houston (Daughtery) and Arthur Dayton were amoung the members who met in a room in the old library and had exhibits on the third floor.
The building was old and when the elevator gasped its last breath, it was decided not to repair it because of the building's general poor condition. The Charleston Artist's Association was not limited to artists themselves, nor to those living within the confines of the city, as was Allied Artists. Allied Artists? The first time we see that name crop up was 1934. The president of that group was Grace Frame (Martin Taylor). Some time after that, the two groups joined and became Allied Artists of West Virginia. There is still spirited discussion about who was a charter member, since both organizations merged rather than incorporating. But turbulent as it may have been, there is no doubt that the purpose was evident. Allied Artists of West Virginia have provided a strong creative thread with which the state has been drawn together.
From the library, the artists moved to Coyle's Department Store, where they held shows on the Mezzenine. In 1940, through the generosity of the Gazzette, they moved into 411 Hale Street and established a gallery. History provides us with information that this location suffered a flood with damage, resulting in a desire to move to a better location. In 1956, Mason College and Morris Harvery College joined and Allied Artists of West Virginia were invited to show there through the years. At this time Sunrise was established and the struggling art gallery moved to the hill overlooking the city. Gradually, as the gallery became staffed with professional people, Allied Artists relinquished its proprietary hold and although supporting the gallery financially, gave up its rights to oversee it.
Correspondence in the form of hand written letters that give us a peek into our past.
Your inquiry of the early days brings back many memories of the beginnings of Charleston Art Association and Allied Artists, later Allied Artists of West Virginia.
I had kept a complete file of the programs, but when we moved I gave them to Evelyn, and have only some old newspaper clippings and memories to fall back on..
Pansy is right! There was an earlier group which was organized about 1929, at the Moore's Bookstore, called Charleston Artists Association.
When we moved to Charleston from Elizabeth, NJ in January 1925, I had just lost a baby and was very lonely. Since Ralph's duties at Carbide kept him away from home much of the time, the Fred Goshorn family almost adopted me and I spent much of my time in their home. Fred Goshorn, a lawyer, was developing a hobby of sculpture and I had worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum School under a sculptor named Barnhorn; we had much in common. He talked to Thomas Moore of Spencer. Moore was doing some "Sunday landscape painting" and knew a number of artists who came in for supplies. Madoline Keely was asked and several of the other teachers. I asked Eddy Meyer, then a decorator and living in the same four family house as we were, to join. Eddie and I often joked about "the house with a lot of art." So, as I remember these made up the first group which met at the store in evenings to organize. The first president was Fred Goshorn and I was vice president.
We were given the use of a room in the old library for meetings with priviledges of having exhibits on the third floor. This worked out well for a number of years - but then the elevator gave out. The building was so old, it was not considered worthwhile to repair it and the public would not walk the long stairs to visit the exhibits. This was the old Library, which was next to Coyle's..
I was the second president, I believe, which must have been about 1930, as I remember I resigned toward end of year as Sylvia arrived. As I remember, Eddie's father, a Professor in Huntington was one of the early exhibitors. Eddie will be able to fill this in.
I think Arthur Dayton was the third president, as I have a newspaper article that names him, saying and I quote "The Charleston Association is not limited to the artists themselves, nor to those living within the confines of the city, as is Allied Artist." Grace Frame was the Allied Artist president. This must have been about 1934 or 5.
It was after that time, the group reorganized to become Allied Artists of West Virginia and since it was made up of the two organizations, there was always a discussion (sometimes heated) of who belonged as charter members. I was later president of Allied Artists, but I no doubt you have programs which give these dates. I don't know if this information will help or not, but will get this in the mail without delay.
A handwritten letter from Blanche Lawson (Cleveland) to Jan...
I was glad to have this information from Naomi because now I know that I was a charter member of the Allied Artistsk, but it was the Art Association of which she writes that I did not join until the second year. Eddie Myers was not the first president of the Association, but he was of the Allied Artists when it took form. Miss Keely told me that she, Agnes & Naomi talked in Agnes' CHS art room about forming the Association, but I guess that the real first meeting they had with Tom Moore, Fred Goshorn, Arthur Dayton, etc. was in Moore's bookstore. We often exhibited in the Capital and as I told you that the public voted on the "best painting" according to the voice of public. We were at least 10 years old before we had juried shows, not popular at first..
(Note: Blanch Cleveland was listed in the 1932 Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Allied Artists Association.)
Brenda Kincaid Beatty
Betsy Ann Cox
Joe Ann Crawford
Joyce W. Daniels
Christine Weiss Daugherty
Judith B Douglas
Sharon Dennis Fuerst
Lou Riffe Gates
Jo Anne Jacobs
Patricia F Jones
Kathleen J Kimble
Inge R Klein
Jane Ann Long
Chad M. Miller
Rita J Montrosse
Nancy Louise Mottesheard
Barbara L Nunley
Anthony J. Papa
Joseph B Pettit
Judith Moore Pratt
Deborah K Sisson
Regina G Swim
Bette Bland Volkers
Martha Jane Williams
Ida L York