The Associated Artists of Butler County began as a small, informal artists’ club around 1928, and became an official organization in 1934. Over its first 56 years, the AABC relied on “friends of the arts” to provide temporary facilities in which they held membership meetings and free hosted art exhibits for the public. The first annual art exhibit in 1934 was held at the Butler Public Library and was sponsored by the GFWC Junior Women’s Club of Butler, who continues to support the AABC to this day. Other institutions who generously provided their facilities to host member meetings and art exhibits over the years included the City of Butler, the Butler YWCA, the Butler YMCA, the Butler High School, Slippery Rock University, the Watson Standard Paint Company, the Standard Motor Car Company, the Covenant United Presbyterian Church, the Workingmen’s Building, Citizens National Bank, and the Mellon National Bank & Trust Company.
To celebrate our 75th anniversary, the AABC published a 173 page book”A Pictorial History of The Associated Artists of Butler County: 1934 – 2009″. This book documents the many contributions the AABC has made to the Butler community and the thousands of hours our members have contributed to supporting the Arts in Butler County. It is available in our Members Gift Shop ($15 for Members, $20 for non-Members). All book sale proceeds benefit the AABC.
In 1990, the AABC established a permanent presence in downtown Butler, at the site of the former Furniture Galleries. Along with solo artist and small group exhibits, the AABC now hosts monthly art exhibits in the main Rittelmann Gallery, the Members Gallery, the Mezzanine Gallery, and the Underground Gallery, offered free to the public.
The AABC Art Center, at 344 S. Main Street in downtown Butler, now contains over 5,000 square feet of gallery space, including the main Rittelmann Art Gallery with over 3,000 square feet of high-ceilinged gallery space, three smaller galleries totaling another 2,000 square feet, a “Kid’s Art Center” and classroom, a ceramics laboratory, and a Members Gallery Shop. Our normal operating hours are noon to 6 PM Wednesdays through Fridays and noon to 4 PM on Saturdays.
Governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, the AABC is a 501(c)3 nonprofitcharitable institution (PA registration #9441). We are supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), its regional funding partnership.
As in our early history, the AABC continues to provide a place for local artists of all ages to gather, socialize, share their talents and techniques, and display their work. Our mission statement remains the same – “to encourage, promote, and foster the Arts in Butler County”.
We offer art education opportunities such as affordable after-school art programs, and adult classes and workshops. We strongly believe that a vital arts community is important to our community, and strive to be both a safe haven for our youth and a place where creativity abounds for young and old alike.