From beginners to members who have exhibited nationally, we're an open, friendly group committed to offering art opportunities throughout the Boulder community. Consistent growth and a long history in Boulder enable us to offer more.
In 1923 the BAA first came together when Jean Sherwood, art patron and clubwoman, and CU's then Dean of Arts and Sciences FBR Hellems agreed that Boulder needed an Art Club. As Hellems put it, "Do you realize that many of our students have never seen a really great original painting?" With Sherwood as founder and Hellems as its first President, the BAA quickly grew to 200 members and spent its first 10 years bringing an ambitious series of traveling art exhibits to gallery space provided by CU President George Norlin in the north balcony of the old CU library. The BAA also displayed college students' work, high school art and the work of local artists from the Boulder Artists' Guild. They held Sunday afternoon talks and offered art classes for the community including a Business Men's Sketch Class, Studio Art for Women and a Children's Summer Art Institute. By 1933 the CU Library needed its space back and for several years the BAA was a transient organization.
In 1937 the BAA made a bold move and opened their own Sherwood Gallery in rented space where Arapahoe crosses Boulder Creek. For two years they displayed art, set up an art library, held two all-county juried art shows, offered more workshops (adding a class in photography), made room in the basement for the fledgling Boulder Historical Society's "Colonial Room" and hosted 5,000 visitors a year. Then, in 1938 the organization could no longer cover the rent. Jean Sherwood died. The BAA closed the gallery and disbanded. For 20 years no formal Boulder Art Association existed. Boulder artists continued to meet together and to create, and an informal group called the Creative Interest Group met in local homes and enjoyed the support and facilities of the CU Fine Arts Faculty. This group grew in size and in 1958 it was large enough to reorganize itself as the Boulder Art Association, almost immediately growing to 200 members. In April 1958 the BAA celebrated their return to the community stage with a Beaux Arts Ball held at the Boulder Country Club. The newly reorganized BAA no longer needed to provide the traveling art shows of the past because the 1949 founding of the Denver Art Museum fulfilled much of that mission. But they revitalized the other practices and traditions of the original BAA – community outreach, support for local artists, county art shows and a gathering place for artists and art lovers alike. Since 1958 the BAA has continued uninterrupted. In 1961 the BAA's annual tradition of a regional art show began. In 1963, the BAA, in conjunction with other local art groups founded the Boulder Arts Center, now The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. More recently, the BAA became one of the parent organizations, which established "The Flatirons Center for the Arts", now known as The Dairy.