About Us

Whidbey Allied Artists is pleased to welcome you to the WAA website. We are sure that you will enjoy seeing our work both here and at our various shows throughout the year. We are a membership of diverse talents, interests and experience, and since we do not have a “permanent” home we define ourselves as a “floating” gallery. Because of this diversity, our unique position, and our philosophy of Bringing Art to the Community, we are able to provide a wide variety of art to the public. This makes our association exceptional in its endeavor to provide a venue for artists to exhibit their work and to give the public an opportunity to purchase a piece of original art for their own collection.

A non-profit Washington state corporation, WAA relies on volunteer efforts of its membership. Our Executive Board consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer plus 4 others. In addition, members can serve as chairperson or committee members for the following committees: Shows/Exhibits, Newsletter Editor, Membership and Publicity. Our Publicity Chairperson provides the publicity and media news announcements for our shows and, with the help of our members, distributes flyers and promotional materials throughout the community. Our income comes from members’ dues. Members who participate in a show share the room rental or show entry fee, but pay no sales commissions to WAA. Each artist sets his or her own prices. We communicate association information to members through phone calls, e-mail whenever necessary and through our member blog. Informational meetings are generally held prior to a show, and in Winter we have our traditional luncheon meeting. New members are generally introduced to the group at one of our informational meetings, where they are asked to bring a sample of their work for “show and tell.” Please don’t feel intimidated by this request. It is merely a means by which the members get to know one another. Also before participating in a WAA show, members are asked to submit a brief bio about themselves which is kept in a membership notebook viewable by the public at each show. Documents available to members include: WAA By Laws, WAA Policies, Membership Roster (including current officers) and WAA Show Standards.

If you have any questions, please contact us. Again, we warmly welcome you to Whidbey Allied Artists website. We hope to see you at one of our art shows or at our booth in one of the many Whidbey Island art festivals.

The mission of Whidbey Allied Artists is to provide our community with a “floating gallery” (quotes are optional) of diverse, high quality art by local artists in a professional setting, and to inspire, mentor, and create educational and participation opportunities to artists in the community.

Where We’ve Been, Our History

THE HISTORY OF WHIDBEY ALLIED ARTISTS

In 1958 a handful of Whidbey Island artists of mixed backgrounds decided to meet monthly at each others’ homes to paint together. Since tea and snacks were a requirement, they assessed themselves yearly dues of $1 to pay for the tea. Each of the founding members signed a brief set of by-laws they created. Over the years they kept track of their activities, the shows they participated in, and other tidbits of information about their art activities. Martha Bund, a relatively well-known Disney artist, was one of the early members of the group.

In the early 1970s their numbers had grown too large to meet in private homes. Now they held their meetings at fire houses or garages. Dues were raised to $5, and remained that way until the 1990s. They held shows wherever they could find a large enough facility–community buildings, houses, stores, garages, restaurants, and even a gas station or two.

Joan Brosnahan, a popular Whidbey Island artist, joined the group in 1972 and served as Show Chairperson for many years until her passing in 2011. Under Joan’s tutelage the group grew to about forty members. She arranged for shows to be held at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, Oak Harbor High School, and at various festivals, such as Greenbank’s Loganberry Festival, Oak Harbor’s Holland Happening, and the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. Joan also led at least two days each week of art classes at the Oak Harbor Senior Center, which were sometimes offered as adult learning classes by Skagit Valley College. It was from these groups that many members found their way to the “Whidbey Allied Arts” group.

Originally, WAA displayed their art on wooden A-frames, peg board frames, and finally plywood panels, which the group purchased and stored in a local member’s barn in until needed for a show. Artist member Margaret Livermore and her mother made the burlap covers that were used on the plywood panels. Each show required the panels to be installed, burlap covers put in place, then temporarily nailed together. Once a show was over, the panels had to be dismantled and transported back to the local barn and stored. (It was an awesome, sliver-causing job, requiring lots of physical labor, including ladders and people willing to climb them!)

By the turn of the century, many changes were in store for the growing art group. For instance, insurance was now required by many art show venues. This caused dues to be raised to $25, then $35 and eventually $50 to cover ever growing insurance rates.

That year WAA president, Jeanne Valdez, along with the help of a fellow member, Ginny Weeks, secured a grant from CFA, Coupeville Festival of the Arts, for $2500. That windfall was used to buy metal display grids, baskets, angles, and hooks to replace the bulky wood panels. These grids continue to be in use for all WAA shows.

During her presidency, Jeanne Valdez realized that our group had never submitted proper documentation to bring it into compliance with federal and state law. After much paperwork by Jeanne and others, our group was incorporated in 2012. We are now a legitimate, non-profit organization doing business under the name of Whidbey Allied Artists.