History & Milestones
The Association for Visual Arts (AVA) was established in 1986 as a result of Vision 2000, a community visioning process that served as a catalyst for Chattanooga’s recent revitalization. Since its inception, AVA has sought to promote, advocate and support original visual art and artists in the Chattanooga area. AVA served 54,000 individuals in 2007-08--an increase of 9% from the previous fiscal year. This population includes people of all ages and backgrounds.
Delivery of high-impact programs, diligent arts advocacy efforts and exemplary community citizenship are key areas of focus. AVA’s continued success is a result of effective organizational and board management, along with strong teamwork among board and staff. AVA’s board of directors is balanced between business people, community leaders and artists who contribute their expertise and financial support.
SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE
Artstravaganza, 1988–2001: a nationally-juried exhibition held at various locations throughout Chattanooga including the Hunter Museum of American Art. Nationally-recognized jurors included Clement Greenberg, Miriam Schapiro, Sam Gilliam and Donald Kuspit.
Artist-in-Residence at Waterhouse Pavilion, 1988-2001: local and national artists were chosen to demonstrate a variety of media, techniques and styles in a public setting. The public had the opportunity to ask questions, observe each artist at work, and witness first-hand the creative and aesthetic decisions that an artist makes when producing a work of art.
Masonry Works in Public, 1992–2002: a public art competition co-produced by AVA and the Chattanooga Masonry Association. Area artists competed to design public “street furniture” that was placed downtown. The pieces are intended to be leaned on and sat on, and they are favorite photo opportunities among area tourists.
Artists-in-the Schools, 1990-2006: deemed a state model, the first AVA school programs highlighted the gallery experience to elementary and middle school children. This included a docent tour of the AVA Center, an artist-in-residence, the creation of artwork, and an exhibit of the children’s artwork at the AVA Landis Gallery.
4 Bridges Arts Festival, 2000 - Present: The 2008 4 Bridges Arts Festival hosted 25,000 attendees and 150 visual artists, and made a $1.5 million impact on the economy of Hamilton County. More than $140,000 was invested through the patron program alone with $123,500 going directly to the purchase of artwork. For the second consecutive year, the event was ranked among the top 100 fine art festivals in the United States by Sunshine Artistmagazine, and there continues to be a national buzz about 4 Bridges among festival artists across the country.
“At 4 Bridges Arts Festival, artists are taken care of and listened to,” says artist Chris Bruno of Jacksonville, Florida. "The staff is very friendly. The event is well promoted and attracts a sophisticated audience, and Chattanooga is a very cool town."
The community now actively recruits artists to move to the urban core of the city--home purchase incentives and professional development opportunities add to the attractiveness of relocation.
AVA Media Lab, 2008 - Present: AVA’s Media Lab serves as the hub for professionally-instructed classes, workshops, after-school programs, and summer institutes for the city’s artists, students and the business community. The digital lab has 10 iMac computers outfitted with specialized software including Photoshop, InDesign and Final Cut Studio. Course offerings focus on Web site development, graphic design, digital photography, and video production and editing. With the latest digital photography and video cameras, professional lighting equipment, computer systems, and software technologies available, the lab provides an ideal off-site learning center for high school and college students. AVA Media Lab is free for AVA members. A $150,000 investment made this expansion possible. The project was funded in part by the George Johnson Foundation, Benwood Foundation and AVA donors. Special thanks to the Community Foundation, UTC Department of Art and the UC Foundation.
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Association for Visual Arts
30 Frazier Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37405
Media Lab Hours:
Photo Studio Hours:
by appointment only