The Founding of the Johnstown Art League

In the 19th Century women did not come easily by formal education; however, across the country they organized their own literary societies and all manners of study clubs. “In 1892, abolitionist, suffragist, and keeper-of-her maiden name, Lucy Stone, credited the literary societies of her youth as the basis for her fame and success, saying that’s where she learned to stand and speak.

Years before—as early as 1884 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania—a group of young women had gathered on February 22 in the Chess Room of the Cambria Iron Company Library at the intersection of Washington and Walnut Streets. Some had ties through blood or marriage to the iron works. All were pupils, alumnae, or friends of the English and Classical School, located on Locust Street.

Emma Baker and Clara Alexander, instructors in the School, were named founders of the Johnstown Art League. The other 11 or 14 women became Charter Members of the League founded that evening.

A committee was appointed to draft a Constitution. The purpose of the young organization was to study the polite or liberal arts; the motto, Vive l’ Art; an emblem, a gold pin shaped like a palette with 3 brushes; and the color blue. That is why in these days our handbooks and yearbooks have blue covers.

Our League was the first such organization to be founded in the 19th Century in Pennsylvania and is the longest continually-meeting group in the Commonwealth.

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Community Arts Center of Cambria County
Hours of Operation

2018 Year


Keeping the Arts Alive in Cambria County.


Upcoming Events


The Rev. Annis Rogers

Vice President/ Treasurer
Faith Thomas

Dr. Judith Thomas

Executive Committee
Cathy Brown
Susan Martin

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Johnstown's Art League