The Carmel Art Association (CAA) is one of the most popular attractions in Carmel Valley. Known as the premier art collective of Monterey county, the CAA has a fascinating history and has had an incredible influence on the arts, not just in California, but across the country. Whether you’re an amateur art appreciator or a serious collector, we always recommend going to enjoy the amazing works exhibited at the CAA. If you’re curious to learn more about this amazing piece of Monterey culture, check out these 7 things you didn’t know about the Carmel Art Association.
Note: As of March 2021, the Carmel Art Association is not open to the public due to COVID-19. If you are interested in visiting, please book a private appointment through their website.
- The Carmel Art Association is one of the oldest non-profit art collectives in the country. Established in 1927, the CAA has undergone changes a few over the years, but still maintains its original purpose; to provide a safe haven for some of the greatest artists in California.
- The CAA was formed by a group of 19 original members who simply wanted a place to share their work. Painters, sculptors, authors, dancers, and illustrators in search of a community began a movement that has lasted to this day.
- The Carmel Art Association was originally operated out of a rented space, but unfortunately, the members lost that space during the 1929 depression. In 1933, local businessman Barnet J. Segal loaned the CAA over $5000 to purchase a permanent location. There was a massive celebration when the mortgage on the building was canceled, and the paper was actually burned on a silver platter. Since then, the building has been renovated twice, but is still home to the CAA today.
- The Carmel Art Association Gallery on Dolores Street gets over 16,000 visitors a year. Patrons can buy works if they so choose, but there is no pressure to do so. Visitors are first and foremost encouraged to appreciate the beautiful works on display, and learn about the incredible artists behind them.
- Speaking of artists, the Carmel Art Association has had over 550 members throughout the years. Some of the most notable early members include en plein air painter Armin Hansen, award-winning sculptor Jennie V. Cannon, and California watercolorist Mary DeNeale Morgan.
- One of the most famous members of the Carmel Art Association was world-renowned surrealist Salvador Dali. During the 1940s, Dali lived on Monterey Peninsula on and off for years, drawn back each time by the inspiration he found in the idyllic Carmel scenery. In his time with the CAA, Dali helped jury the yearly competitive art exhibition for California high school students.
- Today the Carmel Art Association features over 100 local artists, with finely curated exhibits rotating every month. The vision of the founding members has carried on, and the CAA serves as a permanent gallery for some of the greatest California artists to cooperate, share, and create together.
Next time you’re in the Carmel Valley, make sure to visit this incredible celebration of California culture. Afterward, come and relax with us at Carmel Valley Lodge. Our picturesque property is tucked away in the peaceful Carmel Valley hills, surrounded by the marvelous natural environment that inspired so many of California’s most well-known artists.