Charleston, West Virginia graphic

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.

OUR MISSION

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 meeting facilities is fully ADA compliant

AAWV holds all meetings and functions in facilities that are fully ADA compliant.

MEMBERS

Full List of Members

HOW TO JOIN

Jury sessions are held twice a year in the spring and fall. Applicants must be 18 and a resident of West Virginia.

How To Join