What is Tehachapi Valley Arts Association?
December 9, 2023
TVAA was formed soon after World War II. In 1945, Tehachapi's soldiers were returning home. Many had developed new skills and talents while serving their country. The women who had waited at home had also developed skills and artistic talents – after all, this was a time of new beginnings, creativity and make do with what you have. It was a time of hope and wanting to bring color and beauty to their surroundings. A casual group of artists and crafters was formed – the Tehachapi Valley Arts Association.
A few years later in 1963, this group of artists and crafters became more organized and hosted the first juried arts and crafts show in Tehachapi. This show allowed other talented people in the area an opportunity to showcase and sell their creations. TVAA discovered their new organization brought in a modest income and they chose to return this to the children of Tehachapi by sponsoring art related projects for students in the area. Also the organization discovered they wanted and needed to interact with other groups in the area to be more successful. This expansion was the beginnings of today's Mountain Festival.
The Art Show continued to be a juried showcase for local artisans. In 1987, the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce took over the event from TVAA. At that time TVAA saw an unfulfilled need once again for a juried arts and crafts show focused on local and nearby artisans and then established the first Springtyme Faire, the Handcraft Festival and the Fall Harvest Faire which have since been renamed Maker's Markets to keep up with current Social Media trends. TVAA is extremely proud of its many years of providing a venue to showcase local artistic talent.
In September 1979, 12 active TVAA members saw a need and another opportunity to establish a permanent selling location and founded Gallery 'N' Gifts located at 100 W. Tehachapi Blvd. The first Gallery 'N' Gifts artisans were Peggy Fourmet, Billy Fowler, Brenda Church, Peg Kugler, Fred Paul, Jim Mc Wain, Lily Garland, Helen Faulkner, Sonia Schmidt, Marie Wyman, Edna Drain and Rose Plesko. This was to be a "not for profit" co-operative store for local artists and crafters to sell, on a daily basis, items of their own making.
The newly established Gallery 'N' Gifts found that they (like their parent organization) could gain a profit after expenses, and they too chose to return this to the children of Tehachapi by awarding Scholarships to graduating seniors and sponsoring art projects for the youth in the area.
Tehachapi Valley Arts Association sponsors several special events throughout the year – two Photo Contests (in February and in August), Tehachapi Youth Art Contest in April, and two Makers Markets, one in June and one in August at Railroad Park. Their annual Chalk on the Walk festival is held in August. The success of this volunteer organization has been because of the strong commitment of many artisans over many years and their loyalty to continuing a tradition of giving back to the community and developing the creativity of its future citizens. Gallery 'N' Gifts is extremely proud of being in business for over 45 years in the same location in downtown Tehachapi.
TVAA is governed by a board of directors. TVAA general meetings are held monthly at 9 a.m. on the second Monday at Gallery 'N' Gifts, located at 100 W. Tehachapi Blvd. If you're an artist or craftsperson interested in joining TVAA and/or Gallery 'N' Gifts, you're invited to bring samples of your work to one of our board meetings.