Birmingham Art Association

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The Birmingham Art Association (BAA), founded in 1908 as the Birmingham Art Club is an independent non-profit association of visual and performing artists, arts enthusiasts, writers, and musicians for most of the last century, and the the oldest arts organization in the region. BAA particularly supports the efforts of emerging artists and supports a gallery and publishes the Birmingham Arts Journal for that purpose.

In 1908, Birmingham artists Della Dryer, Willie McLaughlin, Alice Rumph and Mamie Holfield, formed the group to promote the arts in the city. They drew together 57 charter members and soon were entertaining such celebrities as Giuseppe Moretti, who had created the sculpture of Vulcan just four years prior. Famed landscape and portrait painter Nicholas R. Brewer lectured to the members in the 1920s.

Notable figures from the Birmingham Art Club were Mrs Bibb Graves, Belle Comer, Carrie Hill, Hugh Daniel, Cooper Green, and Mervyn Sterne. The club participated in numerous service projects in the 1930s and 1940s, decorating parade floats, preparing the Tutwiler Hotel for a visit by a French orchestra, making scrapbooks for soldiers and taking sign-painting assignments from the War Department.

The club held its first Sidewalk Art Show in Woodrow Wilson Park (now Linn Park) in 1938. That show, now organized by Operation New Birmingham, continues as the Magic City Art Connection.

In 1940, starting with a trust left to it by Mamie Fogarty, the club created a committee to pursue funds for the creation of a museum for Birmingham. With support of the Junior League and the Birmingham City Commission, the Birmingham Museum of Art held its first public exhibition in 1951. The BAA started the Birmingham Festival of Arts soon after, and began a continuing tradition of holding juried and non-juried exhibitions of the work of its members.

The Storyteller fountain sculpted by Frank Fleming was purchased by the Birmingham Art Association.

In the late 1980s, the BAA still had its offices located within the Birmingham Museum of Art. Peggy Ragland was its secretary at this time and the BAA had many members including Anne Arrasmith, Mary Burnham, Jon Coffelt, Beverley Erdreich, Frank Fleming, Patricia Gaines, Joe Hardin, Patter Hellstrom, Edward Lee Hendricks, Barbara Hirshowitz, Lou Hollingsworth, Martha Hopkins, Armor Keller, Betty Kent, Janice Kluge, Cordray Parker, Judith Taylor Rogers, Anita Ronderos, Toni Tully, and Carolyn Wade among many others.

In the early 1990s the BAA decided to split from the museum for lack of spaces committed by the Birmingham Museum of Art to show its members work. After secession the BAA reopened on 2nd Avenue North. Its current gallery is at 3205 2nd Avenue South.

References

  • Bidwell, Rebecca and Jim Reed (n. d.) "A Brief History of Birmingham Art Association" Birmingham Art Association website - accessed December 24, 2006
  • Cather, Patrick (1991) "The Birmingham Art Association in 1969: Changing of the Guard" Birmingham: Cather and Brown Books

External links