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The National Institute of American Doll Artists was founded by Helen Bullard in 1962 with assistance from fellow doll artists Gertrude Florian, Magge Head, and Fawn Zeller. These four, plus seven other nationally known doll artists, wished to work together toward a common goal-recognition of original handmade dolls.

Each NIADA artist captures the diversity of life in different materials; each has an individual point of view. Some specialize in historic persons, others capture authentic children, appealing or forceful adults, or humanistic forms from another realm. Some do commissioned portraits. All pieces are original and captivating. The work that comes from these gifted artists comprises realistic or imaginative people figures mirroring our outer and inner lives.

The story of NIADA and monographs on some of the artists appear in The American Doll Artist and The American Doll Artist, Volume II, by Helen Bullard.

In July 1992, NIADA published The Art of the Doll, a 171 page volume, with 135 pages in color, plus information about the currently active, working artist members through 1991. Artists who have retired or become inactive and those who have passed away are in a special black and white section at the close of the book..

Membership Information

Membership in NIADA is by election.

NIADA encourages gifted artists who create completely original dolls to strive for the finest realization of their talents. Requirements for membership are the highest. A doll maker wishing to apply for membership must first submit slides of his work for an anonymous review by the Standards Committee, nine nationally known artist members. When selected for further consideration, after the slide review, the artist candidate is then invited to submit a portfolio for more detailed examination. If the Standards Committee agrees favorably, the artist is asked to bring samples of his work to the next Annual Conference for review and may be elected to membership by the artist members present and voting. Interested artists may contact Standards Chairman E. J. Taylor for further information. (Contact information will be provided as that page is currently under construction)

Friends and collectors of NIADA artists' dolls who are interested in promoting the recognition of these dolls through exhibitions, private showings, and by helping within the organization may become patron members. They must be sponsored for membership by an artist and recommended by him or her to the Board of Directors. Upon approval for patron membership by the board, these applicants are voted on by the artists at the Annual Conference. Contact Patron Director Kathie Van Winkle for further information.

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