ST. AUGUSTINE ART ASSOCIATION
The St. Augustine Art Association in the Old Town quarter of the Historic District has been at the heart of St. Augustine’s art scene since 1924. The art gallery serves as the community's cultural hub, and is a gathering place for workshops, lectures, children's programs, concerts and special events.
In addition to offering walking tours, concerts and films, the association sponsors the popular First Friday Art Walks, the Fall Art & Craft Festival and has visiting and permanent art collections.
The First Friday Art Walks occurs the first Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m. There is a trolley that can take visitors to the 15 art venues in the downtown historic area and many of the sidewalk cafes remain open. The Art Walk event has earned it a People’s Choice Award from the St. Augustine Record.
There is also a walking tour that features 10 historic sites in the Old Town quarter that illustrate the footsteps of St. Augustine’s past. The tour includes the sites of a former Spanish military hospital on Aviles Street – the oldest mapped street in the United States, several churches and homes and original stone walls made of coquina, a coarse limestone unique to the area and another wall of coquina and tabby, a mixture of plaster and oyster shell.
The association’s annual Arts Festival draws 15,000 visitors for two days the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and features national artists, fine arts, craftsman, historical groups and musical entertainment. The event features more than 150 artists from around the United States.
The gallery features a permanent collection of a dedicated group of professional and amateur artists who from 1930-1950 helped form the art association and transform St. Augustine into a thriving winter art colony that attracted hundreds of American artists. The collection, known as the “Lost Colony” artists, includes the works of E.B. Warren, Walter Cole, Tod Lindenmuth, William L’Engle, Emmett Fritz and others.
The works in the "Lost Colony" have been recognized as making an important contribution to American regional art. The story of St. Augustine's art colony is largely forgotten and this online gallery of selected works in the permanent collection offers an opportunity to connect with the artists and discover unique and diverse aesthetics from years gone by.
The gallery also features evidence of Sir Francis Drake's Raid on the town and how he burned it down in 1586. After Drake torched the town, the Spanish rebuilt the town and its population doubled. The permanent exhibit features 16th century artifacts that were excavated directly under a new addition to the art association in the 1990’s. The display includes Native American and Spanish pottery, such as a bowl, pitcher and building materials.
The St. Augustine Art Association boasts a permanent art collection of more than 150 pieces. In addition, it displays a new exhibit/themed exhibit every month. The majority of the art is local or regional, with the exception of the annual Nature & Wildlife Art Exhibit that occurs every August and features national artists.
The gallery is overseen by Diane Bradley, who serves President of the Board of Directors, Elyse Brady, Administrator, as well as numerous volunteer curators and docents.
The gallery can be found at 22 Marine St. in St. Augustine and is open Tues. through Sat. from 2-4 p.m. and Sunday 2-5 p.m. Admission is free. It has occasional workshops at other hours as well, check their website www.staaa.org for those programs. 904.824.2310.