History of Namta

74 Years and Still Going Strong!

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.

In 2020, Namta celebrated its 70th year!

We had many festivities and memories prepared for the 2020 Chicago Art Materials World. Then the pandemic hit, with 2020 being the first year in Namta's history where the membership didn't get together for an annual tradeshow.

In 2021 Art Materials World and Creativation+ joined together and had a successful virtual tradeshow.

2019 Art Materials World San Antonio - who knew it would be 2022 before we met in person again in Orlando!


1962 Convention Registration


1955 Convention - Chicago  

A groovy Saturday Night "Mixer" for Namta Members at the NY Statler Hilton in 1967.
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1981 Namta Convention in Chicago - hmm, or is it the 'Who Wore It Best' Trenchcoat Convention!  But uh-oh! one of the Namtites appears to have gone rogue with his patch sleeve jacket and jeans.
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Regular scissors didn't 'cut it' back in 2004, looks like they brought the sword to cut the ribbon to open Art Materials World Denver 2004! (or are they giant scissors?)
Pictured left to right: Don Dow, Rick Munisteri, Sam Seelig, Lou Reeves, George Bussinger, Bill Powell, Steve Steinberg, Steve Aufhauser, John Leuck, Steve Golian, Katherine Coffey, Gail Fishback, Tim Hopper