History of NAMTA


The National Art Materials Trade Association was established on January 4, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois.

Edward Ellison, editor of the Art Material Trade News, saw the need for a unified art materials industry and incorporated NAMTA as a nonprofit trade association, scheduling its first meeting of the board of directors the next month. During governance discussions, Frank Peters of Favor, Ruhl & Co. was elected the first President and Ellison was elected Secretary/Treasurer. There were initially 17 members.

The goal of the founders was to create an official trade association that would work together with organizations and individuals to identify areas for business development and improvement, ensuring the perpetual existence of the industry, while working jointly to achieve and maintain a high level of professionalism and profitability.  In 2011, the Board of Directors changed the name of the organization to "NAMTA – the International Art Materials Association", in order to better reflect the scope of its membership.

The Association, which is headquartered in suburban Charlotte, North Carolina, chose to retain the use of NAMTA as its official acronym because of its high recognition in the art materials industry.