The need to promote the arts in the community of Olathe was first recognized by a handful of local arts enthusiasts among whom was Norma Silvers. She became the first president of the Olathe Arts Council when it was officially founded in 1978.

In 1987, OAC President Deborah Volkland united the Olathe Theatre, Band, Orchestra, Chorus and the Arts Council under one umbrella, the Olathe Arts Alliance.

In 1993, the Olathe Arts Council, presided over by Don Dane, became known as the Olathe Visual Artists, Inc. As a non-profit organization, the group was funded in part by membership fees, by money from the Olathe Arts Alliance, and by the Public Arts and Cultural Commission.