Trails End Art Association is the longest active art
association on the Oregon Coast. We
provide classes and workshops, gallery shows and special
events. New members are warmly welcomed!
From "A History of Trails End Art Association: The Beginnings,"
published in July 1990 by Sylvia Coumont:
In the early 1950s, the art climate in this area was vastly
different from what it is today. With the exception of a few
galleries in Cannon Beach, there was very little evidence of any
interest in art on the north Oregon coast.
However, it was at that time that a group of people in
Seaside who were interested in pursuing art started getting
together to hold painting sessions, sharing their knowledge with
one another and encouraging those who had little experience in art.
They met in one another's homes during the first year or so and
eventually decided to form an organization that they called Trail's
End Art Association. Most of the group were from Seaside and the
name was chosen to honor Seaside, which was known (at that time) as
the Trail's End City because of its association with the Lewis and
Included in that original group of about 20 were several
accomplished artists who freely shared their knowledge and
techniques with those of less experience.
It appears from the minutes of the meetings and from
newspaper accounts that it was a real up-and-coming organization.
By the end of April 1950, following their organization in February
of that year, the Seaside Signal reported that several weekly
classes. That first year also included a paint-out at Ecola Park
with members of the Oregon Society of Artists and Pacific Art Guild
of Astoria. Other outstanding events that first year were two art
exhibits, one with the Seaside Garden Club annual show and the
other with the AAUX annual art exhibit. There were also
demonstrations by one of Oregon's best-known artists, Arthur
Selander, on August 35 at the new Gearhart School. By September
15th of that first year, membership had increased to 50, and by the
end of the year to 1963 it increased to 63. (In 2007 there were 175
Finding and Buying a Home of Our Own
Members were still meeting in one another's homes for
painting sessions, but what they were really wishing for was a
place where they could meet, paint, hold classes, and keep their
easels, paints and other equipment and materials. On June 19, 1952,
a general meeting was held to discuss finding such a place. When
Rosella Ober, one of the members, reported that the old two-room
school building in Gearhart could be obtained at a nominal cost,
the meeting was immediately adjourned and everyone went to Gearhart
to look at the building.
The building had fallen into disrepair after it was
vacated upon completion of the new Gearhart School. But I offered
wonderful possibilities with one room to be used as a studio and
the other as a gallery. Eight of the original members offered to
advance funds to cover a large part of the purchase price, and the
association signed a mortgage for the balance, giving a second
mortgage to the members who loaned money toward the purchase. For
the record, they were J.J. Miscoe, Rosella Ober, Myrtle Meyer, H.E.
Plummer, Dr. Martha Lowe, Leona Evans, Lynette Ross, and Jane
Before purchasing the building, the organization became a
non-profit corporation registered under the laws of the State of
Oregon, and on September 15, 1952, it was unanimously voted to
authorize Mike Miscoe to arrange the purchase of the building at
the best terms available.
The building had been used last as an extra classroom and
gym while the school was still located on Ridgepath. After being
vacated when the school moved, it had served a number of purposes,
including being used for square dances.
A tremendous amount of work was needed to put it in shape
as a studio and gallery. According to the story in the Seaside
Signal, "Members turned out in a body to put their house in order."
Brushes and sketchbooks were traded for hammer and nails; a
house-jack was obtained to raise one corner of the building and
place new cement blocks. Windows still containing glass were taken
out and installed in the room planned as a studio; the roof was
patched in the leakiest places." The members worked feverishly as
American Art Week was scheduled for November 8 and 9, and they
planned to hold an open house in observance.
Apparently, they were successful because a story in the
signal states that 200 persons signed the guest book on those dates
while members demonstrated their skills for visitors.
Paying the Mortgages
The next project was paying off the mortgages. Those early
members were really motivated: rummage sales, bake sales, paintings
donated by members and sold to raise funs all contributed to the
treasury. And in the minutes of the meeting of July 6, 1953, it was
reported that the first mortgages had been paid off. Later on, the
members who had contributed to the purchase price were also
Creating Art Together at the Trail's End Center
During the following years, it appears from newspaper
articles that the Center was alive with activity: art exhibits in
the gallery, including a traveling exhibit of watercolors by
Oregon's best know artists; displays in the Pacific Power and Light
building on Broadway and other downtown locations; paint-outs at
various sites; and of course, classes in all media, mostly without
charge to members. These classes included summer classes for
children taught by Leona Evan for several years with an attendance
of about 22 students. Minutes of the meetings during these years
report a membership of as many as 75.