History

New Rochelle’s Artistic Heritage

The New Rochelle Art Association was founded in 1912 when a number of artists living in the city met together informally in the studio of Alta West Salisbury and organized the group. The timeline below lists some of the highlights in the long and continuing history of the NRAA.

You can use the left and right arrow keys to move through the lightbox.

1914

The NRAA sponsored its first annual juried show to celebrate the opening of the new city library. Some of the noted participants in that show of 140 entries included: sculptor Robert Aitkin, painters G.Glenn Newell, Remington Schuyler, A.G. Heaton and illustrators Norman Rockwell, Joseph P. Leyendecker and Victor Forsythe.

1920

The New Rochelle Art Association formalized their existence by placing a notice in the newspaper inviting local artists to join. At this meeting the organization set formal goals among which were to “set an educational standard in the Fine Arts and promote interest in art in the community.” At that time it created four sections for its members: Painters and sculptors, architects and interior designers, illustrators and cartoonists and arts and crafts.

1921

The NRAA came up with the idea of creating more interesting signs for the major approach roads to New Rochelle. By 1923 there were ten signs created by various well-known artists. These signs received national attention and were widely imitated in towns throughout the United States. They have been restored and refreshed throughout the years by Association members.

 

1929

A formal constitution and by-laws were adopted. The classifications of members was dispensed with and a corporate seal was adopted.

1931

Paul Terry moves Terrytoons to the K Building.

1940’s

The NRAA showed at various locations including some large Arts and Crafts festivals at the New Rochelle Women’s Club.

1943

Artists from the association painted panels for a new reading room at the library. Designs were quite varied, ranging from B-17 bombers to bucolic landscapes.

PORTRAIT PROJECT

One of the more curious projects that the NRAA was involved in was organized by the USO during World War II. Artists were recruited to paint portraits of service personnel at USO centers. NRAA artists painted portraits at Fort Slocum on David’s Island. Copies were made of every portrait and there are over 2000 of them in the archives at the New Rochelle Public Library!

1963

All the first place winners from a year’s worth of shows displayed their work together at the Ruth White gallery on 57th Street in New York City to generally favorable reviews.

1973

An art show featuring New Rochelle past and present went on to be exhibited at City Hall.

1975

The NRAA refurbished the New Rochelle gateway signs.

1977

The new library is built.

 

1978 and 1979

Shows were put together featuring New Rochelle landmarks. A selection from this show traveled to various locations including the State Capitol building.

1979

New Rochelle built a new library with a large gallery, the Lumen Winter Gallery, named after a former president of the NRAA. This finally gave the New Rochelle Art Association a permanent home and adequate room for all of its shows.

2000

A reprise of the landmark show was held for the anniversary of New Rochelle’s incorporation. A contest for the best work in the show was to be used by New Rochelle in its publicity.

MEMORIALS

In its early days the NRAA was called upon to design various memorials in the city. The most impressive of these pieces was The World War I Memorial.

 2012 Faces of America

As part of its centennial celebration, the New Rochelle Art Association created a contemporary version of the service personnel portrait project called Faces of America. The exhibit took place at The Brother Chapman Gallery at Iona College, November 1, 2012 through December 2012. The exhibition included a combination of the originals and copies from World War Two and the newer portraits. The reception was held on Veteran’s Day, Sunday, November 11, 2012.

Reference Materials

2012 History of New Rochelle booklet

Researched and written by Theresa Beyer
Designed by Jesse Sanchez